WB: No more beef with govt over Padma Bridge

World Bank’s acting country director Rajashree Paralkar says they no longer have any differences over the Padma Bridge issue

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A five-member team from the World Bank including acting country director Rajashree Paralkar met with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday regarding a $250 million loan for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

After meeting with the minister, Rajashree said: “We no longer have any differences over the Padma Bridge issue.”

The World Bank, Jica, Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank were initial investors of the mega project. But when the WB, which had pledged $1.2b of the project cost, decided to pull out in 2012 raising corruption allegations, the other three also quit, plunging the bridge into uncertainty.

Then the government decided to build the bridge with its own money. The main construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge began in December last year.

Minister Quader said: “The government has requested the World Bank representatives to hasten the process of granting the loan for the BRT, a project that will connect the airport with Mohakhali in Dhaka.

“I have also requested assistance for a project to reconstruct a 225km four-lane highway connecting Chittagong with Teknaf that will cost Tk10,000 crore.”

Rajashree said that the WB was thinking positively about financing both the projects.

She further said: “A specialised World Bank team will visit Bangladesh in January and the financing decision will be taken on the basis of their report.”

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