Feasibility survey before budget
Staff Correspondent: Like the 1st Padma Bridge, the government has an alternative plan to implement the 2nd Padma Bridge with its own funds. If all goes well, a final survey will be conducted before the next budget to verify the feasibility of the bridge.
According to the relevant sources, China will provide technical assistance for the 2nd Padma Bridge. The government is keen to complete the survey before the next budget and start design work quickly. The experience of the 1st Padma Bridge will be used in this.
Meanwhile, the work of the widely discussed dream Padma Bridge is progressing at a fast pace. So far, 82 percent of the project has been completed. The physical progress of the work on the main bridge has been 91 percent. All the spans have already been installed.
In such a situation, the discussion of the 2nd Padma Bridge has come to the fore, although the initial plan for the construction of the 2nd Padma Bridge was made about 11 years ago.
Meanwhile, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in its detailed survey has identified four places as convenient for building the bridge over the Padma River. These are – Paturia-Goalanda, Dohar-Charbhadrasan, Mawa-Jajira and Chandpur-Bhedarganj. Among these – the work is underway to implement the country’s largest Padma Multipurpose Bridge at Mawa-Jajira Point. If all goes well, the 2nd Padma bridge will be at Paturia-Goalanda point.
Now the government wants to complete the final survey process of the 2nd Padma Bridge project before the 2021-2022 fiscal year’s budget. For this, the Bridge Division is already working on a new Development Project Proposal (DPP).
According to the Bridge Division, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have initially agreed to finance the project. However, no final decision has been made on which agency the government will choose as the sole or co-financier. The government has discussed the issue with the World Bank and ADB more than once.
It is to be noted that the World Bank withdrew its funding for the 1st Padma Bridge project due to allegations of corruption, however, the World Bank’s accusation was later proved false. Taking into account that bitter experience, the government is moving forward a little slowly with the 2nd Padma Bridge.
It is learned that if no financier comes forward voluntarily, the 2nd Padma bridge will be funded by the government itself. If necessary, reserve money can be used. The government can also move forward based on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The government is moving forward with multiple possible options.
Meanwhile, like the 1st Padma Bridge, China wants to be by its side with technical assistance in the implementation of the 2nd Padma Bridge. The Chinese government has held preliminary discussions with the Bangladesh government in this regard.
With the construction of the 2nd Padma Bridge, the distance between the capital Dhaka and Meherpur, Chuadanga, Kushtia, Jhenaidah, Magura and Rajbari will be reduced. The distance between parts of Gopalganj, Jashore and Madaripur districts will also be reduced.
When asked, Padma Bridge project director Shafiqul Islam said the 1st Padma Bridge is a big dream of the people and the government which is now almost 100 percent visible. “The government has been planning for the 2nd Padma Bridge for a long time. It will also be a new dream project,” he added.
According to the Bridge Division, the length of the proposed 2nd Padma Bridge will be 6.10 km. The cost of the project has been estimated at Tk 13,121.38 crore. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already approved the project proposal. At first, the cost was estimated at more than Tk 10,000 crore. Later, as its length increased, the construction cost increased by Tk 3,000 crore. However, these costs are likely to increase further.