'We believe that China's large-scale production and operation activities in Bangladesh will not undergo any significant adverse impact due to the outbreak'
Both the Padma Bridge and Padma Bridge Rail Link project (Banga-Mawa) will be completed by next year, officials of the Chinese companies involved in the construction process have said.
Despite the progress becoming slower due to impact of coronavirus, the Chinese companies are optimistic of completing the two fast track projects within the deadline, 2021, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said on Wednesday.
He came up with the statistics at a press briefing held at the project office in Keraniganj.
Around 980 Chinese citizens are involved in the Padma Bridge project. Off them, 332 went home to celebrate the Chinese New Year in mid-January. But, most of them were not able to return back to work due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, according to a government report.
On the other hand, some 260 Chinese workers, working in the in Padma Bridge Rail Link project, are still stuck in China.
During a visit to the project site, the Chinese ambassador said: “Many major projects including Padma Bridge and Padma Bridge Rail Link are still under regular construction without being suspended.
“We believe that China's large-scale production and operation activities in Bangladesh will not undergo any significant adverse impact due to the outbreak,” he added.
Around 86% of construction work of the Padma Bridge project has already been done, he said, adding: “But more than 300 employees of the project are stuck in China.”
Liu Jianhua, project director of the Padma Bridge project, said: “We could follow the deadline so far. We are trying to bring alternative manpower from other unaffected cities of China as well as import new technology to accelerate the construction work.”
The Padma Bridge Rail Link project has witnessed 23% physical progress so far, said Project Director Golam Fakruddin A Chowdhury.
Of the 168-kilometre rail line, train communications from Mawa to Banga will be opened along with the Padma Bridge project in mid next year, he said.
When asked, Fakruddin said the work of the Mawa-Banga part witnessed 50% progress.
Under the fast-track project, the broad-gauge rail line will be constructed at a cost of Tk39,246.79 crore on the Dhaka-Jessore route through the Padma Bridge.
On February 21, the 25th span of the 6.15-kilometre Padma Bridge was installed thus making 3.7-km of the main structure of the bridge visible.