Riverbank work to cost 9% extra

padmaPadma bridge project
The revised costing proposal would be placed at the next week’s meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase

The cost of constructing a yard for building bank protection at the Janzira point for the proposed Padma bridge is likely to go up by 9.17% because of delay in work by the Indian construction firm and the Bangladesh government’s failure to acquire land.

A senior official of the Bridges Division yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune: “We would extend the deadline for the Indian firm Bhartia-MBEL (JV) Ltd to build the 2,163km river bank protection yard. In that way we can save the time that would be needed if we floated tender again.”

According to the initial contract, the total cost of building the yard at the Janzira point was estimated at over Tk135.97 crore.

However, because Bhartia-MBEL failed to bring in all the necessary heavy equipment during the rainy season and the Bangladesh government has still not managed to convince a private owner to give up his land for the bridge, the construction of the yard will cost the government an extra Tk12.47 crore.

Communications Minister Obaidul Quader refused to make any comment when asked about the extra cost in building the yard at Janzira point.

The Bridges Division official said the revised costing proposal would be placed at the next week’s meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase.

He also said the government wanted to build the bridge over Padma River as early as possible because it was one of its six “fast-track” projects.

Other fast-track projects, which the government decided to implement last week, include a deep sea port in the Bay of Bengal and metro rail in Dhaka.

The six projects, estimated to cost $15.5bn (over Tk119,000 crore), are expected to reshape the economic outlook of the country by improving communication and accelerating GDP growth.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the construction of the yard on March 2, 2013. Later last year, she said in parliament that 65% of the yard’s construction work had already been completed.

Official documents that the Dhaka Tribune has accessed, show that only about 10% of the overall development of the proposed Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project has so far been completed.

That 10% mostly comprise acquisition, development and rehabilitation works related to land.

Asif Showkat Kallol – dhakatribune