The government has decided to involve the private sector in its bid to raise local funds worth Tk 30 billion for the construction of the country's largest bridge over the river Padma.
The government is committed to bearing one-third of the estimated cost of the project at Tk 90 billion. Now it has decided to raise a part of that fund from the private sources, said a communications ministry official.
"We have a plan to mobilise at least Tk 6.0 billion or one-sixth of the local fund from the private sector", he added.
The official, however, did not disclose the modalities for involving the private parties in the construction of the proposed 6.01 kilometre bridge connecting Mawa in Dhaka with Jajira in Madaripurr over a period of six years.
When completed the mega project is expected to contribute 1.2 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.
The official said avenues have been identified to mobilise nearly Tk 5.0 billion each year from local sources during the construction of the bridge.
Apart from the private sector, the government will mobilise some Tk 1.0 billion annually from the toll collected from the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge and other bridges and highways under the Roads and Highways Department in six divisions.
It has already committed not to impose surcharge on country's citizens for construction purposes of the Padma Bridge as it used to do during the occasion of the Jamuna Bridge. But it has decided to bring many new bridges and highways under toll system in six divisions.
The government will save another Tk 2.0 billion from the Annual Development Programme to supplement the cost of the project.
The construction of the 25-meter wide four-lane Padma Bridge with a provision of railway tracks is expected to start from 2008. It is expected to be completed over a period of six years.
The foreign currency component of Tk 60 billion will be made available by bilateral donors and international lending agencies.
The government has already sought assistance to Japan, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and China. Excepting China, others have already promised to finance the project.
After opening of the bridge, the volume of daily traffic over the Padma Bridge will reach 21,300 vehicles per day and 41,600 vehicles per day in 2025.
According to the available figures, some 655 hectares of land at Mawa and Jajira points would be acquired for river training, construction of approach roads and resettlement activities.
Nearly 19,000 people are likely to be affected due to the bridge construction while 30,000 people will loss their land, according to a survey conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The JICA conducted the first feasibility study on the bridge almost one year ago.
The JICA is expected to release its second and final feasibility study soon.