Padma Bridge allocation to be cut by Tk 1740cr

Hasibul Aman

15th January, 2019 10:29:15 printer

The Padma Bridge project is likely to see a cut in its allocation by Tk 1,740 crore in the upcoming revised ADP as spending the amount won’t be possible this year.

The Bridges Division has already put forward a proposal with regard to trimming the allocation for the country’s largest infrastructure project, Planning Commission sources said.

The dream project fetched Tk 4,396 crore in the original ADP okayed by National Economic Council (NEC) for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The Bridges Division proposed to slash the allocation to Tk 2,656 crore. For the first six months up to December, Tk 1,107 crore was allocated for the mega project.

The Division in its calculation found that it won’t be possible to spend Tk 1,739.66 crore out of total allocation in the rest of the year.  So it proposed to the Planning Commission to cut the amount.

So far, cumulative expenditure against the project stood at Tk 17,903 crore to achieve 62 per cent physical progress.  The project was supposed to be completed by December.

The project faced some setback because of piling related problems, which has now been overcome after foreign consultants resolved the soft soil problems with redesigning some pilings that faced the problem.

Against this backdrop, the project’s completion deadline has been revised to December 2019.

According to project experts, the bridge is likely to be completed within the extended timeframe or at best it might take three months more.

The government undertook the scheme in July 2007, but it dealt a huge blow after the World Bank withdrew the financing of the project raising graft allegations surrounding project’s consultation job.

Refuting the allegation, finally, the government decided in 2015 not to take foreign money for the project and construct the bridge with own money.

The total cost of the project is now Tk 30,193 crore for construction of the 6.15km main bridge and link road and river training work.

According to the latest Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) report, construction of the bridge’s 14 piers out of 42 has so far been completed.

At the same time, 217 out of 294 pilings have so far been completed. Data suggest that the government has to complete 28 piers by the December 2019, the new deadline.

The IMED report also showed that the project requires river training work stretching 13.1km on both Mawa and Jajira sites. Up to November last year, 2.5km of the river has been trained.