Padma bridge work from March2011

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The work on Padma Bridge is scheduled to start in March next year and all contracts for the $2.9 billion project will be signed before that, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday.

In an earlier assessment by JAIKA on July in the year 2004 the development cost of this Bridge was estimated as Tk.8, 588 crore. After taking power, this government has increased the estimated cost for five times.

Speaking at a press briefing after a 34 days visit to the US by a delegation led by him, the finance minister said they had fruitful discussion with the World Bank about the Padma Bridge project.

According to him there were some differences of opinion with the WB on the bridge, but those have been resolved. The cost of the bridge was estimated at $2.4 billion earlier. Newly estimated sum is $2.9 billion due to changes in design and some other factors.

He also said that World Bank has indicated to provide $1.5 billion instead of its earlier commitment of $1.2 billion.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Economic Affairs Mashiur Rahman told the briefing that the World Bank has given Bangladesh a clear signal regarding corruption that it will engage a separate agency to probe if irregularities are occurring in big projects financed by it.

All donors including the WB have also decided that if any company is debarred by any donor for corruption, it will not qualify for working in any project financed by other donors, he said.

The briefing was held at the finance ministry where the finance minister also presented in detail the outcome of the visit.

Muhith said the WB is very sensitive about corruption. They have recently introduced a separate wing on integrity. If it receives any allegation against any company, they will investigate it.

He added not only for Bangladesh, the WB will apply the same policy for other countries as well.

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has already provided $140 million for the Padma Bridge.Other development partners are ADB & Japan.

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