Dhaka: Bangladesh has refuted Chinese media claims that the Padma Bridge is “a major cooperation project” between the two countries.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister in a statement said, “Some quarters are trying to portray that the Padma Multipurpose Bridge which is scheduled to be inaugurated on 25 June by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been constructed with the assistance of foreign funds and is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Its press statement ‘categorically asserted’ that the Padma Multipurpose Bridge “has been entirely funded by the Government of Bangladesh and no foreign funds from any other bilateral or multilateral funding agency have financially contributed to its construction.”
“Both Bangladeshi and foreign construction firms were engaged for the implementation of the project,” the foreign ministry’s statement said.
It further said that the completion of this bridge will fulfil the long-cherished dream of the nation for connecting the 19 south-western districts with the rest of the country resulting in collective prosperity, socioeconomic development of Bangladesh as well as enhanced regional connectivity.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs earnestly hoped that “all friends of Bangladesh” will join hands in celebrating the completion of this landmark project in Bangladesh which is all the more special since it has been done entirely by the contribution of the people and the Government of Bangladesh.
It may be mentioned that some Chinese media outlets allegedly tried to project the 6.15 railroad bridge as a product of China-Bangladesh cooperation. They hinted that it was part of BRI plans.
Further, the statement stated that the bridge was conceived by PM Hasina a long time before BRI’s existence.
The statement claimed that the PM laid the foundation stone of the bridge in 2001 towards the end of her first term in power and took it up with World Bank for funding when she returned to power in 2009.
However, Hasina later decided to complete the country’s largest infrastructure project with Bangladesh’s own funds.
However, the contract for the bridge was awarded to a Chinese company but the funds were from Bangladesh’s own resources.