The government has decided to raise tolls at Bangabandhu Bridge and Muktarpur Bridge by 20 to 50% after a six-year interval to meet the increasing market cost.
Moreover, the Bridge Division is likely to face difficulty in repaying loans taken for Padma Bridge and Karnaphuli Tunnel, both of which are now under construction, sources said.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith have given his consent on the hike of tolls this week, an official of the Finance Division said.
The official also said Road and Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader had approved the proposal on January 30 this year.
According to a summary on the toll hike that was approved by the finance minister, the increase in tolls at the two bridges will be effective from next month. The summary also said that tolls will see a 5% increase every fiscal year from now on.
The summary stated that toll of Bangabandhu Bridge was last raised in 2011, with a hike on an average 14%, but maintenance and operational cost have increased by several folds.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Bangabandhu Bridge, the eleventh longest bridge in the world and the second longest in South Asia, on June 23, 1998.
The bridge was named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the decision of its construction was passed in the then parliament during the first tenure of Awami League government (1996 to 2001).
In 2008, the 1.52 km long sixth Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge (Muktarpur Bridge) had opened for traffic which was constructed over the Dhaleshwari River at Muktarpur in Munshiganj.