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15 February, 2018 12:56:23 AM

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China confirms funds

Padma bridge rail link project
Jagaran Chakma
China confirms funds

China has confirmed that it would finance the Padma Rail Link Project removing the uncertainty concerning the implementation of the project.

According to officials of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), the Chinese embassy on February 2 informed the ERD about the funds approval.

Earlier, China had assured Bangladesh of signing the deal by December 2017, but overshot the deadline with the approval to finance the project pending at the higher echelons of the Chinese government.

Talking to The Independent, ERD joint secretary (Asia Wing) Dr AKM Matiur Rahman said they made serious efforts to get the funding confirmed as the government had set a target of opening a railway line along with the road on the Padma Multipurpose Bridge by December 2018.

Rahman also said that Bangladesh finally managed to arrange the funds for the much-hyped project from China’s Exim Bank. The agreement is likely to be signed within two or three months, he added.

He also said the Chinese embassy urged them to start negotiations to complete the process.

“We have sent a letter urging them to send us a draft agreement for funding the project,” he added.

The Exim Bank of China primarily agreed to finance the project to the tune of USD 3,138.75 million. The implementing agency ran into difficulties in progressing with the project work due to the unexpected delay in the signing of the agreement.

To ensure funds, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the finance minister had separately written to Chinese president Xi Jinping and the Chinese commerce minister in January 2017, requesting speedy funding for the Padma Rail Link Project.

The PMO’s letter to Xi mentioned: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s desire is to open train services through the Padma Multipurpose Bridge on the same day that the bridge is completed and opened. To achieve this target, this has been listed as a fast-track project by the Government of Bangladesh. It is, therefore, under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister.”

On September 15, 2016, the ERD had sent a loan proposal of USD 3,138.75 million to the Chinese embassy in Dhaka. On November 25, 2016, the PM approved certain steps to expedite the signing of the credit deal for the project.

The government plans to open the bridge to public in December 2018. The project is divided into four segments —Dhaka-Gendaria, Gendaria-Mawa, Mawa-Bhanga and Bhanga-Jessore rail tracks.

The tracks will run through seven districts of Dhaka division—Dhaka, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Faridpur and Gopalganj—and the two districts of Narail and Jessore in Khulna division.

SR

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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