The countrymen’s long-cherished dream of having a bridge over the Padma River is gradually coming true with mega infrastructure being visible on the project site.
The nation is going to celebrate the second year of launching construction work on a 6.15-km Padma multipurpose bridge by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh is implementing the mega project with its own funds after the World stood aside with its pledge in the wake of allegations of corruption.
The premier took the bold initiative for construction of the bridge with money of local taxpayers after the project stalled for few years over the graft allegations.
The World Bank raised the allegations of irregularities in consultation work on the project, creating a tussle with the present government.
The international moneylender had finally led the country to refuse to take $2.1 billion funds from donor agencies.
A Canadian court recently cleared the graft case, saying that it found no evidence of the allegations against some local officials and politicians.
The agencies were the World Bank, the JICA, the ADD and the IDB. The WB was the lead financier.
The project work has become visible with a 150-metre span placed on the pillar 37 and 38 of the Padma Bridge at Jajira point in Shariatpur on September 30. It was the first among the 41 spans to be installed on the bridge.
“With the installation of the first span, the Padma Bridge is now visible in dark clouds,” Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told reporters.
After the installation of the first span, the Tk 28,993-crore project saw 48percent overall progress with the bridge’s main construction work advancing 51 percent and river training work, another major component of the project, 34.20 percent.
The construction work of the much-expected bridge started in December 2015. The government is expecting to complete it by December next year. The bridge will establish a direct link between 21 southern and southwestern districts and Dhaka, putting an end to huge losses of time and money.
The losses are caused by long delays at ferry ghats on both banks of the mighty river during river crossing.
The project is expected to add 1.2 percent to the national GDP.