Quader raps Muhith for Padma delay

Communications Minister Obaidul Quader has described the Finance Minister’s position on the Padma bridge as ‘unrealistic’ and blamed him for delay in starting construction of the much-hyped project.Quader’s comment came a day after AMA Muhith had ruled out an offer by a Chinese company to invest $2.4 billion for the Padma rail-road bridge.
“The unrealistic stance of the Finance Minister is obstructing the start of the construction of Padma bridge’s main frame in time,” he said on Friday.
On Tuesday, Quader said state-owned China Poly Group International had offered to invest $2.4 billion in the 6.15 km rail-road bridge, an electoral pledge of the ruling government.
According to Quader, the Finance Minister at times makes some ‘sweeping remarks’ which create ‘frustration’ among the people.
He believes ministers should make responsible comments and think before making them.
The Communications Minister criticised Muhith’s terming the Russian and Chinese proposals to invest in the project as ‘unacceptable’. Quader said the Finance Minister’s statement coming barely a day after the proposals ‘frustrated the people’.
Quader on Tuesday said the Chinese firm had expressed desire to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh to seal the deal. He had said the proposal was better than the World Bank’s.
However, Muhith threw cold water on all speculations saying the Chinese proposal was ‘unacceptable’.
“We need to waive off global tendering if we accept the Chinese offer or any such offer, but doing the project with a global tender is ‘basic’ for Bangladesh,” he commented.
After a tug-of-war with the World Bank over graft allegations involving top government officials and ministers, the Sheikh Hasina-led government withdrew its funding request in January this year.
The global lender had pledged $1.2 billion.
The government announced to carry out the project with domestic funding. An international tender was floated last month to this end.
Early last year, when Muhith was negotiating with the Washington-based lender to get it back on the project, Quader had signed a MoU with Malaysia.
In a scathing attack on Muhith, Quader said, “The Finance Minister is an educated person. When he’ll write his autobiography, he may admit that it was not possible to start the Padma bridge construction due to his unrealistic stance.”
An optimistic Communications Minister hoped there would be no more hurdles to starting the construction of the bridge.
“The project will not run into financial trouble for the next one year since Tk 80 billion has been allocated in the budge,” he said. – bdnews24.com

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