News Desk: Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said on Wednesday that they had proposed to name the Padma Multipurpose Bridge after prime minister Sheikh Hasina despite her rejecting a similar proposal.
‘From Bridges Division, the summary that we will send to the prime minister for the inauguration, we will seek her approval of the proposed name,’ Quader said at a briefing at the Shetu Bhaban in the capital.
Quader said that Hasina rejected a similar proposal in the past despite a demand was raised in the parliament and ‘strong demands from different corners of the country.’
‘I tried to say it to her time and again but the PM did not give her consent,’ he said.
Quader said that they would send the summary to the prime minister ahead of a planned inauguration of the bridge in the last week of June.
‘We are sending the summary to the prime minister and will fix the inauguration date of the bridge after getting her schedule,’ Quader said.
Replying to a question, Quader said that there was no possibility of opening the bridge on June 23 the founding anniversary of the ruling Awami League.
The Bangladesh Bridge Authority is implementing the 6.15-kilometre road-cum-rail Padma Bridge between Mawa point in Munshiganj and Janjira point in Shariatpur to connect the capital with 21 south-western districts of the country.
Hasina inaugurated the construction work of the bridge in December 2015.
The project deadline was extended till June 2022 and, in 2018, the project cost shot up to Tk 30,193 crore from the initial estimated cost of Tk 10,161 crore.
Quader said that overall the bridge project had made 93.5 per cent progress.
The progress in the work on the main bridge was 98 per cent, he said, adding that river training works saw 92 per cent progress while 91 per cent of carpeting works on the main bridge were completed.
The minister added that the summary of proposed toll rates for using the bridge was also sent to the prime minister for her approval.
According to the Bridges Division, the proposed toll rates would be higher than the toll rates for ferries on the Shimulia-Kathalbari river route near the bridge on the River Padma.
Replying to a separate question, Quader said that they would hand over the bridge to the Padma Rail Link Project authorities in July.
At the briefing, Quader said that the project of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman tunnel being constructed under river Karnaphuli so far made 85 per cent progress.
The bridges division secretary Monjur Hossain and Padma Bridge project director Shafiqul Islam were present at the briefing.
The government decided to build the Padma Bridge with local fund after the World Bank in 2012 cancelled a $1.2 billion loan deal claiming to have identified ‘possible corruption risks.