Bangladesh, Chinese company sign US$1.6bn bridge deal

DHAKA, Bangladesh – Bangladesh has finally sealed a construction deal for its long-running and crisis-hit Padma bridge project, after signing a deal with a Chinese state-owned firm on Tuesday.

The contract, approved by the government on June 2, was signed by the Padma bridge project's director Shafiqul Islam and co-chairman of the China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited, Liu Ziming. 

The 6 kilometer-long bridge is set to cost 121.32 billion Bangladeshi Taka (US$1.56 billion), which is 30 billion Taka more than costs projected in 2011.

The Chinese firm will be responsible for building the main infrastructure for the bridge and have it ready to open by 2018.

Bangladesh's communication minister Obaidul Quader said: “We have crossed the important milestone, you will see the Padma bridge of our dream into reality.”

Bangladesh government hopes the bridge which will cross the river Padma, the Bangladeshi names for the Ganges, will boost the country's Gross Domestic Product by as much as 1.2 percent.

Realizing the project has been difficult for Bangladesh, especially since 2012 when the World Bank rescinded a US$1.2 billion loan for the bridge after raising concerns about corruption. 

Bangladesh eventually withdrew its request for World Bank funding and decided to find domestic financing for the bridge.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency