Saturday, December 5, 2020 | ePaper

Delay in Padma Bridge construction

Tk 300cr paid to China MBEC as compensation

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The world's largest floating crane, Tian-e, installs the 34th span of the Padma Bridge at the Mawa point in Louhajang Upazila of Munshiganj on Sunday, making 5,100 metres of the giant structure visible.

Staff Reporter :
China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited (MBEC) has demanded   a   big   amount   from the government as compensation for the delay in completion of the Padma Bridge Project.
So far the Chinese company has claimed Tk 600 crore compensation, citing 40 to 50   reasons, and in the meantime, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) has paid Tk 300 crore against the claim, officials said.
They said the construction work of Padma Bridge has been delayed due to various reasons, including flaws in design, complexity in piling work, natural calamity and Covid-19 pandemic.
In June 2014, the Bangladeshi government awarded China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited a US$1.55-billion (Tk 12,1,33.crore) contract to build core structure of the Padma Bridge Project, which was to be completed in four years (December 18).
Construction work of the much-hyped bridge started on December 7, 2014.
The bridge's pile drive work started in 2015. Then complication arisen over piling of 22 pillars. Pillars could not be installed due to the soil structure in the bottom of the river.
Besides, it took one and a half years to resolve the flaws in design. In 2020, the pace of bridge's construction work came to a halt again due to the Covid-19 pandemic and prolonged flood.
Now the implementation tenure of Padma Bridge project has been extended up to 2022 as its works suffered setback due to Covid-19 pandemic and floods.
Officials said the project authorities have given China Major Bridge an extra three years. Even then, they are seeking compensation for keeping the manpower and equipment in place as the construction work of the Padma Bridge was not completed on time.
Mohammed Belayet Hossain, Secretary, Bridges Division, told media that the bridge authority or the contractor was not    responsible for the delay in construction work during the pandemic. But the time is increasing. So, if they claim for some compensation because their equipment was sitting idle. They would be paid compensation if their claims are logical. We are paying compensation for their local claims. If they are not satisfied, an arbitrator will be appointed.
Officials said the Chinese contractor China Major Bridge Company is demanding compensation of Tk 39 lakh a day. The bridge authorities have already paid Tk 300 crore counting Tk. 31 lakh per day.
Shafiqul Islam, Project Director of the Padma Bridge, told media that the claim was a continuous process. Now maybe 40-50 claims are coming. More will come and we will continue to resolve those.  "So far we have not too many unresolved issues. If there is a big problem we may have to go for arbitration. Such a situation is yet to come. The claims are coming within our contract price. No such claim has not come outside the deal."
According to the Bridge Authority, 90 per cent construction work has been done on the main bridge till September, progress of the river training is 74.5 per cent and overall progress of the project is 81.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, the 34th span of the Padma Bridge was installed on Sunday, making 5,100 metres of the giant structure visible.
The span (2A) was installed on pillars Nos 7 and 8 at Mawa point, six days after the last one was installed.
Executive Engineer (Bridge) and the Project Manager Dewan Md Abdul Kader confirmed the matter to media.
Once in service, the 6.15km-long bridge will connect the capital with 21 Southwestern districts. It is expected to boost the country's gross   domestic product by 1.2 per cent.

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