Padma Bridge is not a part of BRI
Bangladesh Bank has launched commemorative currency notes of tk100 on the occasion of the inauguration of the Padma Bridge. It is a milestone project in the growth of Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, was the one who decided to go ahead with the US$3.6 billion project with Bangladesh’s own resources. The completion of the bridge will fulfill the dream of Bangladesh of connecting the 19 south-western districts with the rest of the country resulting in collective prosperity, socio-economic development of the country and enhanced regional connectivity.
However, before the inauguration the Chinese embassy has made false claims that the Padma Bridge is constructed under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through the Chinese funding. This is not the first instance of controversy around the Chinese BRI. It has been surrounded by controversies in many other countries like Pakistan and Srilanka as well.
The Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum and the Embassy of China in Dhaka invited the media for an event titled “The Padma Bridge: An Example of Bangladesh-China cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative” on June 22.
In a sharp rebuttal to Chinese claims of Bangladesh’s biggest infrastructure project being part of BRI, Dhaka said that the Padma Bridge, which is scheduled to be launched on June 25, is not a part of China’s BRI. It also said that no foreign funds were taken to complete this multipurpose project.Bangladesh Government
It is interesting to note that many foreign construction firms were involved in the implementation of the project as mentioned in the press release. It includes South Korean and Chinese companies.
“Korea is very happy to take part in this very proud history-making project. A Korean company, Korea Expressway Corporation has supervised the construction process of the Padma Bridge and this company will also be in charge of the operation and maintenance of the bridge,”Lee Jang-keun, the South Korean ambassador to Bangladesh told a Bangladesh news agency
China’s Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group, a state-owned entity, had constructed the bridge. Bangladesh’s Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said the Chinese company was awarded the construction work after a due process of global tendering. But claiming that the entire project falls under the BRI and is funded by China is completely false.
“The Ministry of External Affairs earnestly hopes that all friends of Bangladesh will join hands in celebrating the completion of the landmark project, which is all the more special since it has been done entirely by the contribution of the people and the Government of Bangladesh,”
“Bangladesh would not allow any particular country to steal its thunder”Ministry of External Affairs, Bangladesh (source : www.thefederal.com)
This model adopted by Bangladesh can be replicated everywhere else in the world. It has taken the help of countries from various parts of the world but never signed an agreement like the BRI. It has also stayed away from getting funds from other countries and kept the Padma Project self-funded. It completed its dream project that will incur growth in the entire region and also avoided the DebtTraps.