China has come up with a proposal to build the much-coveted Padma Bridge at the estimated cost of US$2.9 billion as per the existing design in three years, officials said.
Communications ministry officials said the Chinese company-China Railway Bridge Bureau Group Co. Ltd.-in its proposal to the Bridge Division last week said it would build the bridge on the build-own-transfer (BOT) basis.
The company would construct the bridge following the existing design on its own within three years by investing 70 per cent or $2.0 billion out of the total cost of $2.9 billion, said a senior communications ministry official.
The remaining 30 per cent of the bridge cost would have to be provided by the government of Bangladesh, he told the FE requesting for anonymity
As per proposal, the Chinese company, which has the experience of building the 36-kilometre-long Hangzhou Bay Bridge in China, will form a consortium comprising three Chinese companies and the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) to build the 6.15-kilometre bridge.
The official said the Chinese company would borrow its portion of the fund, $2.0 billion, from one of its state-owned commercial banks. If disbursed, the Bangladesh government would have to repay it in 20 years without any interest.
"It is a package proposal. The consortium will invest 70 per cent of the cost and procure all the elements on its own. It will mobilise the funds and complete the construction within three years. Then it will hand over the bridge to Bangladesh," he said.
The official said, "We are seriously examining the Chinese proposal and if we find it viable, we will go for negotiations soon to start the construction work on the steel-fabricated bridge."
According to the proposal, the Bangladesh government will have to ensure the sovereign guarantee for the loan.
The Chinese company, however, proposed that it would save some money from the $2.9 billion and the Bangladesh government would have to allow them to repatriate the fund to China, the finance ministry official said quoting the proposal.
The Chinese company in its proposal also agreed to allow an international firm, appointed by Bangladesh government, to supervise the construction work on the Padma Bridge, the communications ministry official said.
He also said it would be a lucrative offer for the country. "But we need to negotiate with the Chinese consortium keeping the quality in mind."
Since China is a major supplier of construction materials like steel and also advanced in technology, it might be possible to build the bridge within three years by the consortium, the official added.
"The consortium will bring manpower from China and procure most of the materials from its origin country. It will only procure few materials like cement, sands and bricks from Bangladesh," the official said.
When it comes to the investment offer, it is interesting to note that the government will get an opportunity to invest the 30 per cent or $900 million worth of fund out of the total $2.9 billion in the local currency as the Chinese company will spend the money in Bangladesh.
The Chinese company has also proposed that it will build the railway-cum-road bridge as a 6-lane one, instead of 4-lane as in the existing design, at the estimated cost of $2.9 billion.
After cancellation of a loan of $1.20 billion by the World Bank for the bridge project, the government was looking for alternative options for building the much-awaited bridge.
The Chinese company built the 36-km-long Hangzhou Bay Bridge in the sea during 2003 to 2007 and now it is open to traffic.
Chinese co comes up with new proposal
Chinese are freaking innovative. I like them and their business proposal are quite interesting.
So now the bridge will be of 6 lanes instead of 4 lanes.
No, interest on loan..
Repayment in 20 years.
GOB will own the bridge.
Chinese companies will take whatever money they will save from $2.9 billion dollar.