‘Hope Padma Bridge not becomes a Rana Plaza’

Reiterating Centre for Policy Dialogue’s concern that the implementation of the Padma Bridge project with government’s own fund will involve uncertainty over its construction quality, its distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya on Monday said, “let’s not hope Padma Bridge becomes a Rana Plaza”.“The current political situation of the country as well as the issue of ensuring good governance in the project implementation remains a major concern…it’s the quality of the bridge that becomes a worry for us now. Let’s not hope the bridge becomes a Rana Plaza,” he said.

Debapriya made the remark in response to queries by reporters at a press briefing at the CPD office.

He said, “The construction of the Padma Bridge with the government’s own financing will require about Tk 6,000-7,000 yearly allocations over the next few years. Things won’t click in this way. No contract firm will be interested to step in the project unless there’s a strong assurance of the fund from the beginning.”

“We still believe it’s possible to invest from foreign sources in the Padma bridge construction,” he added.

Debapriya said the government should rethink its plan of the state financing for the Padma Bridge project and ‘return to the drawing board’ for arranging alternative financing.

Speaking on the occasion, CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman said the Padma Bridge project is expected to absorb about 58 percent of the total incremental allocations over the next fiscals ADP (Annual Development Programme).

“It’ll reduce government expenditures on education, health and other social sectors,” he said.

Mustafizur recommended that the government study the proposals of investment from countries, including China and Malaysia rather than resorting to public financing.

The government has already decided to allocate Tk 6,882 crore for the implementation of the Padma Bridge project under the ADP in the budget for fiscal 2013-14. (Source: UNB)

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