No chance of raising cost of Padma Bridge project

Munima Sultana
Communications minister Syed Abul Hossain has said the government sees no possibility of revising the cost of the 2.4 billion Padma multi-purpose bridge although the demand has been raised from the development partners.

He said the cost of the road-cum-rail bridge has been fixed through an assessment by the consultants and the government did not find anything unusual which can scale up the construction cost of the project.

“At this stage, we do not see any possibility of change in the Padma project cost,” the minister told the FE after a press conference organised to open the Padma bridge pre-qualification bidding proposal at Bangladesh Bridge Authority’s (BBA’s) conference room Tuesday.

The minister’s comment follows the demand of a joint mission to revise the Padma bridge project cost bringing it to around $ 2.8 billion during its visit to Bangladesh in April-May.

The minister, who also presided over the press conference after the PQ-bidding dateline closed at 4pm, said the government has met all conditions of the tender, donors and procurement rules during the process of short-listing tenders for the Padma bridge.

He expressed his confidence that full-fledged construction of the 6.15 km bridge would begin by January next on completion of all necessary works including the final bidding.

“We will finalise the tender process with a target to issue work order to the final bidder in December,” Abul Hossain said adding that selection of the PQ bidders will be carried out by the project’s national and international consultants and experts by June.

Disclosing that out of 37 companies which bought the PQ documents, 11 companies – all from foreign countries — have participated in the short-listing of bidding as they submitted their proposals on the closing day on Tuesday, the minister said. The PQ documents have been prepared in a way to enable only the qualified companies to participate in the process of tendering for the international-standard bridge construction.

“The PQ documents were prepared with the help of consultants, donors and all others in order to select qualified companies for the Padma bridge as the government does not want to compromise on its quality,” he said adding that many national and international companies might not able to participate in the bidding short-list for failure to form joint ventures with international companies.

The BBA opened the PQ tender on April 10 a few hours after the donors released related documents two-month behind the government’s announced schedule. Of the 11 international companies which participated in the PQ bidding, four are from China, two from India having joint ventures with Spain and France, three from South Korea, one from Austria and one from Italy. Among these companies, OHL-Gammon Joint Venture has already been short-listed for the Dhaka Elevated Expressway job.

The minister said the government is making progress in the Padma bridge project as its most priority project keeping transparency in its work. He added that all the donors have expressed their satisfaction at the progress of the project.

BBA executive director Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and project director Rafiqul Islam were present on the occasion.

Once constructed by 2013, the Padma Multipurpose Bridge at Mawa-Jajira will be Bangladesh’s biggest bridge and the most expensive project in the country’s history. It is likely to establish international and regional connectivity with the country helping increase the GDP growth by 1.3 per cent. The GDP growth of the south and southwestern region is expected to increase by 4.3 per cent after the completion of the bridge.

thefinancialexpress

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