Padma bridge tender draws little interest

Bid submission deadline extended by 2 months

M Abul Kalam Azad


The construction of Padma bridge will face further delay as the communications ministry last week extended time for submitting bids for the main bridge component by almost two months.
The last date for submitting bid for the $ 1.3 billion main bridge is now November 4 this year.  The previous deadline was September 9.
“We will try to finalise the bid by the end of January next year,” said Shafiqul Islam, project director of the Padma bridge scheme.
He, however, gave no idea about when the construction would start. Sources in the Bridges Division said it would not be possible before August-September next year.
Sources in the Bridges Division and pre-qualified bidders said three out of four pre-qualified bidders were not willing to bid for the main bridge component due to uncertainty of fund given the country’s political volatility.
Only China Major Bridge Engineering Co Ltd had shown some seriousness, added the sources.
Samsung C&T Corporation of South Korea and Daelim-Bam-VCI, also a joint venture entity of South Korea, had purchased bid documents, but they have shown no interest to complete the bidding.
Vinci-HCC, a joint venture of France and India, has not even bought the tender documents. “The company attended the pre-bid meeting but is yet to buy tender documents,” a senior Bridges Division official involved in the Padma bridge project told The Daily Star.
A representative of a bidder said Samsung and Daelim-Bam-VCI had purchased bid documents on request from project officials to make the bidding competitive.
“The main concern of the firms is uncertainty of fund, especially the foreign currency,” said the representative seeking anonymity.
He said although the government had decided to construct the bridge with its own fund, a section of the ruling party, including the finance minister, was still hopeful of fund from donors.
The government on June 26 floated tender for the main bridge construction and asked pre-qualified firms to submit bids by September 9.
Meanwhile, a Bangladesh-Malaysia joint venture company is constructing the approach road at Janjira point of the bridge area under a Tk 1,097 crore agreement.
A Tk 250 crore tender has been floated recently for building the other approach road and service area at Mawa point.
However, tender for river training, the second largest component (involving $ 800 million) of the project is yet to be floated.
The situation implies tenders for the main structure and river training would not be finalised within the tenure of this government. However, the construction of the approach roads, yards and service areas will nearly be completed by this time.
The Awami League (AL) government spent Tk 200 crore for preparing the bridge design and Tk 1,400 crore on rehabilitation and resettlement, which are at the final stage.
The AL had planned to start the construction of the 6.15-kilometre rail-road bridge and complete major part of the bridge within its tenure.
However, it could not be possible as donors had cancelled funds over allegation of corruption in the project.

Source: The Daily Star


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