The government has increased the cost of Padma Bridge project by almost 29% to over Tk28,793 crore for adding new components in the project.
It would be the second revision of the country’s largest infrastructure project that pushed up the cost by Tk8,286 crore.
The soaring cost was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) at the NEC conference room yesterday, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Of the total cost, Tk30,292.54 crore will come from the government exchequer, Tk22.32 crore from the related public agencie and Tk2,870.44 crore from project assistance.
About the rising cost, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said some new components have been added to the revised project while some 1.3 kilometer area at Mawa-end added as river training works, apart from addition of some selected bridge-end facilities and related additional works.
He said once the project is completed with 6.15-kilometer bridge on Mawa-Janzira point, it would further boost the country’s GDP growth.
The main bridge construction work would be completed by December 2018 while the rest of works would be completed by 2020, he said.
As per the second revision, the minister said, the main bridge construction cost would rise to Tk12,133.39 crore from the first revision’s Tk8,361 crore, river training works cost to Tk9,400 crore from Tk4,387.71 crore, resettlement cost to Tk1,515 crore from Tk1,423.47 crore and the land acquisition cost to Tk1,298.73 crore from Tk1,086.08 crore.
He said that the project cost witnessed the highest amount of around Tk5,000 crore rise in river training works.
Apart from the main bridge construction, Tk1,097.39 crore has been allocated for Jazira approach road and selected bridge-end facilities under the second revision, Tk193.40 crore for Mawa approach road and selected bridge-end facilities and Tk208.71 crore for services area-II.
Sources said the World Bank’s allegation of corruption in the project have delayed implementation of the project, thereby escalating the cost.
Originally, the cost was estimated at Tk10,161 crore when the project was approved in 2007. However, it did not include the cost of railway lines on the bridge.
After the first revision in January 2011, the estimated cost stood at Tk20,507 crore, including that for rail tracks.
The project is running four years behind schedule, after the WB withdrew its $1.2bn loan in 2012 over allegations of corruption conspiracies, involving top government officials and a Canadian consultancy firm. The government then moved to build the bridge with local resources.
The project was initially scheduled to be completed by this year. But, it is now expected to be completed by 2018.
China Major Bridge Engineering Construction Company has been awarded the job of constructing the main bridge and it started working since November last year. The piling works are underway now with 27% done as of now.