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Major projects stuck due to flight ban

  • Published at 09:15 pm April 17th, 2021
Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Chinese firm claims Padma Bridge rail link project will be stuck

The China Railway Group (CREC) on Saturday appealed for the reopening of passenger flights in and out of China, as it is severely hampering their overseas infrastructure projects, namely the Padma Bridge rail link project.

A press release by the company read that owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, their project management personnel and on-site labour arrangements have been incessantly affected.

The flight suspension policy has even worsened the project progress. If these personnel cannot return on schedule to the construction site from China, some working procedures are going to be difficult to implement, and some will even be forced to be suspended. This will directly affect the construction progress, it added.

Foreign sources in top positions related to the project said that they would not want to come to Bangladesh again if the Bangladesh government formulated a policy of centralized quarantine in designated places for incoming Chinese personnel.

Around 30 people involved in the projects need to travel between China and Bangladesh every week, including the project managers, safety and quality personnel, and technical construction personnel in key positions.

The Padma Bridge rail link project is an important cooperation project between China and Bangladesh. At present, the project is in full swing; hence the project personnel require frequently to travel between China and Bangladesh.

It is reported that despite the pandemic, trading and other operations between China and Bangladesh have all seen increases in January-February this year. 

At present, the pandemic situation in China has been effectively controlled. 

The Chinese personnel who came to Bangladesh were all vaccinated with two shots, and will not pose any risk of infection to Bangladesh. 

With the deterioration of the pandemic situation in Bangladesh, the suspension of flights led to serious congestion of ships that carry steel beams, steel bars, geotechnical materials, etc., ordered by the project in Chittagong. 

Besides, high port demurrage charges, additional port storage charges and fuel charges have caused the project severe financial losses. 

The mobilization of steel beams, rails, and more also had to be delayed, posing a challenge to the project's material supply. 

CREC appreciates the efforts made by the Bangladesh government to control Covid-19 and will follow the epidemic prevention rules of the government. 

"However, it is worth mentioning that the smooth execution of the rail project matters a lot for the wellbeing of our local subcontractors and 5,000 families of our local employees," CREC said in its release.

Taking the impacts mentioned above into consideration, CREC, as the contractor of Padma Bridge Rail Link Project representing the Chinese companies in Bangladesh, sincerely appeal to the Bangladesh government to reopen flights between China and Bangladesh, they also said.