Zoellick assures Hasina of timely release of Padma Bridge funds

World Bank (WB) President Robert Zoellick has assured Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that funds pledged by the global lender for constructing the Padma Bridge in Bangladesh would be released on time.

The assurance came when the WB chief called on PM Sheikh Hasina at her cottage Tuesday morning, on the sidelines of the ongoing Tiger Summit in St Petersburg.

Thanking the WB president, Hasina told him that construction of the Padma Bridge will have to start soon, saying it was her party’s electoral commitment.

She requested Zoellick to release the WB’s pledged funds soon, so that construction of the bridge can start before the arrival of the monsoon season.

The WB has pledged to provide $1.5 billion out of the total project cost of $3.9 billion for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.

During the meeting in the city formerly known as Leningrad, Bangladesh’s socio-economic and infrastructure development, as well as climate change and its adverse impacts on Bangladesh were discussed.

The PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, who was present at the meeting, briefed newsmen about the outcome of the meeting.

The WB president appreciated Bangladesh’s performances in disaster management, macroeconomic management and the concept of Digital Bangladesh, alongside programmes to implement the vision.

He also praised the government’s various steps in facing up to the adverse impacts of climate change.

Zoellick also lauded PM Sheikh Hasina’s pragmatic leadership.

The Prime Minister informed the WB president about her government’s different steps to face climate change, particularly recovering the navigability of its rivers, by undertaking capital dredging projects.

She also mentioned highlights of her government’s 134 projects to face climate change.