Curtain drawn on WB Padma episode

An irritated govt withdraws request to review loan cancellation
The government has finally decided not to take the World Bank’s loan for financing the Padma Bridge project as it has withdrawn its request to the donor agency to
review the cancellation of a $1.2 billion credit, officials said.
In a significant development, the government sent a letter to the WB headquarters in Washington on Thursday withdrawing its request for the loan that was cancelled by
the WB on June 29, 2012 on allegation of corruption conspiracy in appointment of a consultant for the project.
A deadline earlier set by the government to know about the WB’s decision on the loan for the mega project expired on January 31.
The government, however, informed the WB that the ongoing investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission into the alleged graft in the bridge project would continue.
The WB cancelled the loan but agreed to revive it on certain conditions following a request from the government on September 22, 2012.
But the bank had been dragging its feet on a final decision on whether to fund the bridge, forcing the government to withdraw its request.
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said that the government had decided to go ahead with the bridge project without WB funding to ‘uphold an election pledge.’
Muhith said in a statement on Friday that the project would become uncertain if the government waited further over starting the construction as per schedule of the WB.
The WB in a statement on Friday acknowledged the latest government decision.
‘The government of Bangladesh yesterday (Thursday) informed the World Bank that it is withdrawing its request for World Bank financing for the Padma Bridge,’ said the
A WB official in Dhaka said the two-page letter by the government attributed its decision to the delay by the WB in taking a decision on the suspended loan.
The letter also explained that the delay was contrary to a government election pledge for starting construction of the bridge within the tenure of the present
government, said the official.
A senior economic relations division official said the observation by WB president Jim Yong Kim on the Padma Bridge in his speech at the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington on its stance on corruption in the bank-funded projects prompted the government to send the letter to the bank.
The ERD official said the high-ups of the government became certain that a positive response from WB was highly unlikely after Kim stated that they could not consider
financing the Padma Bridge construction until being assured of a complete and fair investigation into the reported graft.
The official pointed out that the WB resorted to buying time by setting one condition after another in the name of probe into the alleged corruption being carried out
by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
A credible probe by the ACC to be supervised by an independent external panel was one major WB condition to review the sanction of the loan.
The external panel visited the capital twice last year to review the ACC investigation. But it was yet to give its recommendations on which the
WB would take a final decision.
The government apparently being irritated by the WB attitude asked the bank to let it know about its decision by January after the ACC filed cases against nine
government officials, including former bridge division secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan.
Besides, the government dropped Syed Abul Hossain from the cabinet and sent economic affairs adviser Mashiur Rahman on leave in line with the conditions by the WB.
Experts, however, said the government had taken the decision ‘hurriedly.’
‘The decision would make the project uncertain,’ said former caretaker government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam.
The finance minister in his statement said that the government would slash the project cost and build a road bridge only if it was necessary.
He said the government had conveyed its decision to the WB and other co-financiers. The co-financiers have been requested to stay with the project, he said.
Communications minister Obaidul Quader on Friday said Malaysia, China and India were interested in constructing the bridge and the findings would be confirmed by this
He said the government was also considering construction of the bridge with its own funding as he was talking to reporters while visiting the Dhaka-Mymensingh four-
lane road project in Gazipur.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina told a party meeting last week that an alternative design of the project by the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology would
take six months to complete.
She told her party activists that the government would go ahead with the alternative plan if the WB failed to response by January.
The agreement with the WB on a $1.2 loan was signed on April 28, 2011.
The government also inked separate deals with the Asian Development Bank for a $610 million loan, Japan International Cooperation Agency for $400 million and Islamic
Development Bank for $140 million.

-With New Age input

Related News

BMD predicts rain in Ctg, Sylhet today

News Desk : Amid the scorching heatwave, Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) predicted rain in Chattogram and Sylhet today. “Rain or thundershower accompanied by temporary gusty wind may occur at one or two places in Chattogram and Sylhet divisions in the next 24 hours starting 6:00pm on Monday,” said BMD. The weather may remain mainly ... Read more

Primary section in secondary schools to close too

New Desk : The government today decided to close the primary section attached with the secondary schools till June 8 due to the ongoing heatwave. The government also instructed the authorities to suspend the assembly session at all schools. Additionally, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher education (DSHE) instructed all the educational institutions not ... Read more

Hero Alom picks up nomination papers for Dhaka-17 by election

News Desk : Ashraful Hossain Alam, known as Hero Alam, will contest the by-election to the Dhaka-17 constituency, scheduled for 17 July, which fell vacant following the death of actor Akbar Hossain Pathan Farooque. He collected the nomination paper from the Election Commission (EC) office in Dhaka on Sunday (4 June). Hero Alom said ... Read more

Mob beats, stabs youth over Facebook post, 10 cops injured

News Desk : A shopkeeper was beaten and stabbed by a mob in front of Police Staff College in the capital’s Mirpur-13 yesterday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. A team of Kafrul Police Station rescued and sent him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 9:45pm, said Saddam Hossain, sub-inspector of the police station. “Someone ... Read more

Government primary schools will remain closed from tomorrow until June 8 due to heatwave

News Desk : Due to the severe heatwave in the country, the government has decided to keep all public primary schools closed from June 5th to 8th. The decision was taken considering the health safety of the children going to the schools, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education said in a press release ... Read more

Community clinics will offer hypertension and diabetic drugs

News Desk : Drugs for hypertension and diabetes will now be available in community clinics across the country as part of the government’s plan to ensure primary health care in rural areas. The drug list update committee for community clinics has taken the decision in a meeting on May 14, 2023, according to a ... Read more

Odisha train accident: Identities of 2 injured Bangladeshis confirmed

News Desk : Two Bangladeshi citizens from Rajshahi and Bogura are among the injured in India’s one of the worst rail disasters in Odisha last night. Of the injured, Russel-uz Zaman, 27, from Rajshahi was a passenger of Chennai-bound Coramandel Express from Shalimar near Kolkata, a senior official of Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in ... Read more

NHRC, World Vision team up to stop violence against children

News Desk : World Vision, an international development agency dedicated to child welfare, and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to end all forms of violence against children and build a country free of child marriage. A MoU signing ceremony was held on 1 June with National Human ... Read more

Shyamoli building fire kills one

News Desk : A commercial building in the capital Shyamoli caught fire last night, killing one person. The identity of the approximately 45-year-old deceased could not be immediately confirmed. His body was recovered from the 17th floor of the 20-story Rupayan Shelford building, said Abdul Mannan, senior station officer of Mohammadpur Fire Station. The ... Read more

Metro to run from 8:00am to 8:00pm

News Desk : From now on the metro rail will run from 8:00am to 8:00pm six days a week. Mahfuz Rahman, manager of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), confirmed to The Daily Star that the metro rail started following the new schedule from yesterday morning. As per the new schedule, weekly closure of ... Read more

Biman fires captain for negligence

News Desk : Biman has fired Capt Dildar Ahmed Tufail for negligence in duty while captaining a flight on January 15. He was reportedly napping in the crew rest area, leaving the cockpit of the Boeing 777-300ER technically unmanned. A passenger had a heart attack during the overnight flight to Dhaka from Jeddah. Capt ... Read more

Noab demands withdrawal of tax, duties on newsprint

News Desk : The Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh has demanded the withdrawal of taxes and duties on newsprint in the budget for the fiscal year 2023-24. In a press release yesterday, Noab said it made the demands during a pre-budget discussion with the National Board of Revenue. The release mentioned that NBR Chairman ... Read more

E-toll to be compulsory on 9 bridges, 2 highways from November

News Desk : The government has made Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) System compulsory at nine bridges and two highways from November. The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) issued a circular in this regard. According to the circular, the government has already installed automatic toll machines at those bridges and highways. The nine bridges are ... Read more

Boeing offers Biman its latest 787-10 Dreamliner

News Desk : After Airbus, the American manufacturer Boeing has now offered its latest model aircraft, 787-10 Dreamliner, to the Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The company sent a letter in this regard to Biman’s chairman recently which will be discussed in the board meeting on Tuesday, said Shafiul Azim, managing director of Biman. “As we ... Read more

Fishing, tourism banned in Sundarbans for 3 months

News Desk : To ensure safe breeding and movement of fish and wild animals the Forest Department will enforce a three-month ban on fishing and tourism in the Sundarbans that set to be effective from 1 June to 31 August. During this period, the movement of all types of vessels, including boats and fishing ... Read more

Biman to operate special flights from Dhaka for RU admission seekers

News Desk : Biman Bangladesh Airlines will operate three special flights on the Dhaka-Rajshahi route from May 29 to May 31 to facilitate journeys of Rajshahi University admission seekers. The RU admission tests will take in four shifts starting from 9:00am and ending at 4:30pm on May 29, 30 and 31. The flights will ... Read more

First hajj flight with 419 pilgrims leaves Dhaka on Sunday

News Desk : The first hajj flight, carrying 419 pilgrims, is scheduled to leave Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for Saudi Arabia at around 3.20am on Sunday (May 21). “A Biman Bangladesh Airlines will operate the first hajj flight from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Jeddah on Sunday at 3.20am,” Biman’s spokesperson Tahera Khondoker told ... Read more

7 Bangladeshis make Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2023 list

News Desk : Seven Bangladeshis have made the list of ‘Forbes 30 Under 30′ Asia Class of 2023. The famous business journal, Forbes, first launched the ’30 under 30’ list in 2011, listing the thirty movers and shakers under the age of thirty. From 2016 to 2022, a total of 25 Bangladeshis were named ... Read more

Economic life of buses fixed at 20yrs, goods vehicles at 25yrs

News Desk : The government fixed the economic life of buses and minibuses at 20 years and that for goods-laden vehicles, including trucks and covered vans, at 25 years. In this regard, the Roads and Highways Division on Wednesday issued a circular which would be effective following a gazette notification. In 2010, the Bangladesh ... Read more

Fire hydrants will be installed in all DNCC markets, slums: mayor

News Desk : Mayor Atiqul Islam said fire hydrants will be installed in every slum and market under the jurisdiction of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) to deal with fire incidents. He made the announcement while inaugurating a fire hydrant in Sattala slum of Mahakhali in the capital on Thursday (18 May). He stressed ... Read more