Malaysian proposal on Padma Bridge in 3 weeks

 

The Daily Star online report August 5, 2012

Malaysia will submit a final proposal to Bangladesh regarding the construction of Padma bridge in three weeks.

Communications Minister Obaidul Quader told reporters after a meeting with a six-member Malaysian delegation at Secretariat on Sunday.

Dato Seri S Samy Velu, Malaysian prime minister’s special envoy to India and South Asia, led the six-member delegation during the meeting at Secretariat.

During the meeting, the delegation submitted a proposal on concession agreement regarding the construction of 6.15-kilometre bridge to the communications ministry.

“We cannot disclose the details (of the meeting) before the submission of the final proposal,” the communications minister said.

Before signing the agreement, the draft of the proposal will be sent to law ministry for vetting and then it will be placed before the cabinet, the minister said.

Asked whether the government cancelled loan agreements with the other donors, Quader said, “We did not cancel any loan agreement. Rather, anyone can come with proposal for Padma multipurpose bridge.”

Even, the government can form a consortium with the international donor agencies for building the bridge, he said.

Emerging from the meeting with the communications minister, the team held a half-an-hour discussion with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at Secretariat.

But both the minister and the Malaysian team leader declined to make any comments when the meeting ended around 1:30pm.

Earlier on April 11, Bangladesh penned a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malaysia on cooperation in the construction of the Padma bridge.

The government in April last year signed a $1.2 billion loan agreement with the World Bank to construct the bridge. Besides, the Asian Development Bank was to provide $615 million, Japan International Cooperation Agency $400 million and Islamic Development Bank $140 million more for the scheme.

But the project stalled in October last year when the lead financier WB alleged corruption in the bidding process.

Amid uncertainty over the implementation of the project, several countries including Malaysia showed interest in funding the scheme. Malaysia in January formally proposed financing the project.

The World Bank on June 29 cancelled its loan pledge for the $2.9 billion project.

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