INTRODUCTION: The Padma Bridge is a multipurpose road raile bridge across the Padma river to be constructed in Bangladesh. When completed it will be the largest bridge in Bangladesh and the first fixed river crossing for road traffic. It will connect Louhajang, Munshiganj to Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the south-west of the country, to northern and eastern regions. The project covers three districts — Munshiganj (Mawa point/North bank), Shariatpur and Madaripur(Janjira/South bank). The total area of land to be acquired and required for its components is 918 hectares. The requisition of land for the construction yard will be for six years on a rental basis. As per the new design, an additional 144.04 ha has been identified for acquisition, bringing the total to 1062.14 hectares. This additional land is required because project site lost significant land due to erosion, for transition structures and due to a change in railway alignment.
The two-level steel truss bridge will carry a four-lane highway on the upper level and a single track railway on a lower level. The project will include 6.15 km long and 21.10 m wide bridge,15.1 km of approach roads, toll plazas and service areas.
It is a sad state of affairs when an entire nation has to suffer for the actions of just a few. The World Bank has claimed to have found credible evidence of a high-level corruption conspiracy among selected government officials involved in the Padma Bridge project.
The cancellation of the $1.2 billion credit for the Padma Bridge project will have an adverse effect on the Bangladesh economy for years to come. It will also make it difficult for the current government to begin what it thought would be one of its signature achievements.
The government will look for alternative sources of funding for the Padma Bridge. Malayasia has shown some interest. However, the World Bank decision will surely affect the terms