2 more years sought for Padma Bridge
Published : Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 at 10:37 AM Count : 214
In an application to the Ministry of Planning, the road transport ministry cited delays to the work caused by the coronavirus pandemic for seeking the time extension.
After overcoming numerous hurdles, the construction of Bangladesh's longest bridge over the Padma River started in 2014 using the country's own funds.
The government was working to open the bridge to traffic on the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence this year but the plans hit a snag following the outbreak of the coronavirus in March last year.
However, the construction work continued amid the pandemic, with the final span of the bridge being installed in December. Later on Feb 16, Quader said that 84 percent of the construction work had been completed, with the government aiming for the bridge to be operational by June 2022.
But now, the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges has applied to extend the project deadline by another two years until June 2023.
Asked about the matter, Kazi Jahangir Alam, chief of the Physical Infrastructure Division, said "The Bridges Division has sent a letter and we have received it.
"But the IMED will issue a report on the overall status of the project. We can make a decision after that is submitted.”
If any project needs to be amended without increasing the cost, the relevant branch of the Planning Commission may approve it without presenting it to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). Therefore, this project can also be approved by the Physical Infrastructure Division.
Addressing the matter, Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty, secretary to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division, said: "We have received a letter from the Bridges Division. However, the task of extending the time limit will fall on the Physical Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission.”
"IMED has already inspected the project area. We learned that the implementation of the project has been severely hampered by the coronavirus pandemic over the last one year. In that case, our recommendation would be to extend the time limit.”
After the latest amendment, the estimated cost of constructing the Padma Multipurpose (Road-Rail) Bridge project is being implemented at a cost of Tk 301.93 billion. The cost of the project will not rise even if the deadline is extended by two years at the request of the Bridges Division.
The Bridges Division, however, did not issue any statement regarding the proposed time extension.