The Bridges Division sought the extension as the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted project progress
The Planning Commission is extending the deadline for the much-talked about Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project (PMBP) again until June 2023, including defect liability period, following a proposal sent by the Bridges Division.
The Bridges Division sent the proposal for the time extension to the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Planning Commission (PC) on February 2.
The Bridges Division sought the extension as the Covid-19 pandemic had interrupted the progress of the project.
However, the Bridges Division plans to open the bridge for traffic by June 2022 despite the appeal for deadline extension until June 2023.
“We have sought one year (until June 2022) for completing construction work and one more year (until June 2023) as a defect liability period. Since the project will be completed by June 2022, the bridge will be opened for traffic at the same time,” said Mohammed Belayet Hossain, secretary of the Bridges Division.
“As far as I know, the Planning Commission has started the process of extending the deadline without increasing the cost,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
A team of the IMED had visited the project area to inspect the project and evaluate the proposal on March 1. The team also had several meetings with project officials. The IMED is now preparing its recommendations regarding the deadline extension to send to the PC, officials say.
“Construction work is going on in full swing now, after many hurdles have been overcome,” said Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty, secretary of IMED.
“We learned that the implementation of the project has been severely hampered by the coronavirus pandemic over the last one year. In that case, our recommendation would be to extend the time limit,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
According to the NEC, the government had allocated Tk5,000 crore in the Annual Development Program for the PMBM for the current fiscal year 2021-2022.
However, on March 2, the National Economic Council (NEC) finalized the Revised Annual Development Program (RADP), which allocated Tk2,099.93 crore for the Padma Bridge project for the fiscal year 2021-2022.
The remaining Tk2,900 crore from the project budget will be allocated for the next fiscal year.
“It has been revised as the project didn't have the capacity to spend the money,” said Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty.
Deadline extended for 5th time
With this, the deadline for finishing the PMBP will be extended for the fifth time.
The Bridges Division had earlier re-fixed the target for opening the bridge for traffic in December 2021, to mark the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence. But the plans hit a snag following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year.
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project has missed deadlines three times – 2014, 2018 and 2019. The project has involved a cost of Tk301.19 billion.
The construction of the 6.15km bridge, the longest in the country, over the Padma River got underway in 2014 with the country’s own funds. Work on it had earlier been scheduled to start in 2012.