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Locally-funded $4 bn Padma Multipurpose Bridge Inaugration

Destranator

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Padma Bridge a morale booster for local contractors​

Bangladeshi companies now aspire to take bigger projects


With the Padma Multipurpose Bridge set to officially open to the public on June 25, the approach roads and expressways built by some local companies on both sides of the bridge will soon be bustling with activities. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq
Construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge has given a huge morale boost to local developers that were engaged in building approach roads and other facilities related to the Tk 30,200 crore bridge, which is the largest in Bangladesh.
While the main bridge has been constructed by China Major Bridge Engineering Co Ltd, several local companies, namely Abdul Monem Ltd (AML) and Property Development Ltd (PDL), had been engaged in building approach roads and 4-lane highways on both sides of the bridge.

The bridge, which will connect the southwest region to the rest of Bangladesh, is expected to spur economic growth in the country for increased connectivity and economic activities.
As the much-talked about 6.15-kilometre bridge is set to open to the public from June 25, constructors said completion of their tasks has given them courage and strength to take bigger challenges.

"It is one of the biggest infrastructures of Bangladesh. It has given us exposure, confidence and moral courage that Bangladesh can do it. Being part of the project, this exposure gives us the courage to take bigger projects and challenges," said Mohiuddin Monem, additional managing director of AML, in a recent interview.
With manpower of more than 5,000, the 66-year old construction unit of AML was engaged in building many of the key infrastructures that include a number of challenging projects, such the 44-kilometre Khulna-Mongla highway which was constructed in 1984.
Building on that past experience, the company has been engaged in some of the biggest development projects, namely runway overlays for the Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Osmani International Airport in Sylhet, and ongoing construction of the metro rail and airport flyover.

In case of the Padma Bridge Project, its initial journey was not that smooth.
When AML got the job, the project had been in a standstill situation because of the cancellation of a $1.2 billion credit from the World Bank for the bridge.
The activities gained momentum in July 2012 only after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to build the mega infrastructure with Bangladesh's own funds.
Yet it was not easy for AML to get financiers to help it provide performance guarantees to do the works involving Tk 1,700 crore as financial institutions were least interested to stand by the constructor.
"This is because it was the last year of the then Awami League-led government and so, there was uncertainty whether the potentially new government would continue the project," said Monem.
"There was a spillover effect on us. None was walking around the Padma Bridge. Eventually though, we managed to convince financial institutions to arrange performance guarantees on our behalf so that we could start work," he added.
"We were determined. We went all the way to carry out the project because we thought it be would be a national pride and we wanted to be part of this."
Construction of the approach road was no less challenging as the infrastructure developer had to bring equipment from Germany to stabilise the soil before beginning construction after finding that conditions were not favourable.
"We waited for one year for the soil to settle," Monem said, adding that the effort proved beneficial as the road provides a smooth ride.
But even after that, AML managed to complete its work within the deadline. Besides, the company finished construction with Tk 100 crore to spare from the estimated cost given by the authority.
To build the approach road for Padma Bridge, AML, used locally made materials, sans bitumen. As such, local value addition would be 60-70 per cent, he said.
Having accomplished the tasks of making a portion of the highway and approach road to the bridge, AML boasts on its success on being a part of Padma Bridge.
"It is not anything but world class. You will experience when you will travel on the road," Monem said.
He also thanked Bangladesh Army for its support to the whole project.
PDL also has similar claim.
"This is the highway where you will not feel any jerk during travel," said RN Paul, managing director of RFL Group, which has built 8.5 kilometres of roads in 32-kilometre 4-four lane highways from Postogola to Padma Bridge in Mawa.
PDL developed a half kilometre approach road on the Zajira and Shariatpur part of the bridge said apart from doing asphalt paving on the bridge, it has approach roads.
The total value of PDL's contract was Tk 800 crore.
"Usually, we would construct smaller roads. For this bigger work, we had to do a lot of R&D (research & development). Now we have proven that we can do quality works. This is going to be our big strength," he said, adding that the company had to do some works several times to ensure quality.
Paul said local companies have gained the experience of constructing expressways and involvement of homegrown constructors will reduce pressure on the foreign exchange.
"We have learned a lot regarding infrastructure development," Paul said.

 
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Destranator

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While the main bridge has been constructed by China Major Bridge Engineering Co Ltd, several local companies, namely Abdul Monem Ltd (AML) and Property Development Ltd (PDL), had been engaged in building approach roads and 4-lane highways on both sides of the bridge.

@bluesky I know you don't like this bridge but I think you would be happy to know that local contractors have learnt a lot from their involvement in this project alongside the Chinese. We might see them become self-sufficient in delivering medium-sized infrastructure on their own in the near future.
 

Bilal9

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The inauguration was more of a propaganda about the Sheikh and his daughter rather than the achievement of the construction crew (mostly from China) and their hard work.

About the only thing I like about this is that she did not dare name it after herself, her son or her father.
 

Destranator

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The inauguration was more of a propaganda about the Sheikh and his daughter rather than the achievement of the construction crew (mostly from China) and their hard work.

About the only thing I like about this is that she did not dare name it after herself, her son or her father.
As cringeworthy as it is, let's ignore the political propaganda and focus on the economic and engineering milestones achieved. BAL regime will eventually go away but the bridge is here to stay.
 

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@bluesky I know you don't like this bridge but I think you would be happy to know that local contractors have learnt a lot from their involvement in this project alongside the Chinese. We might see them become self-sufficient in delivering medium-sized infrastructure on their own in the near future.
No, no, I perfectly like this bridge because it will reduce my journey time to Faridpur by half,

But, I was complaining that we remain as illiterate peasants as our forefathers were 800 years ago. We are unable to do any little thing by ourselves.

Let us think of any future bridge. Either to be done by China, Japan, or Korea with borrowed money. But, did these countries allow others to do their domestic projects?

We are cheap and these countries are not, so they have developed.
 
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mmr

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Never seen any where media talk about one fucking bridge of 6 km long...day and night...for 7 days week..acting like bd somehow send space craft to mars or something...

Most of it was done by the Chinese any way...even parts of the materials need to be imported from china. Lame.
 

UKBengali

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Even 1% won't be bad. 1% I think is achievable.


If you mean 1% extra per year for BD as a whole then impossible. 1% a year for many years to the GDP of the SW is possible though.

I think the latest analysis says that it will bring in an extra 11 billion US dollars to the GDP of BD and so nearly 3 times what it cost to build.
The lion's share of this will be to the people of the SW and of course the social benefits in being able to travel from the area to the rest of the country cannot have a value placed on it.

Look foward to a time in the 2030s when I would like to do a tour of the whole country by road, rail and boat . It would be fantastic to take 4-6 weeks off and do this trip.
 

Bengal71

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If you mean 1% extra per year for BD as a whole then impossible. 1% a year for many years to the GDP of the SW is possible though.

I think the latest analysis says that it will bring in an extra 11 billion US dollars to the GDP of BD and so nearly 3 times what it cost to build.
The lion's share of this will be to the people of the SW and of course the social benefits in being able to travel from the area to the rest of the country cannot have a value placed on it.

Look foward to a time in the 2030s when I would like to do a tour of the whole country by road, rail and boat . It would be fantastic to take 4-6 weeks off and do this trip.

I mean 1% GDP growth rate more per year for many years. SW Bengal is backward, because of the bridge new activities will start.
 

UKBengali

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I mean 1% GDP growth rate more per year for many years. SW Bengal is backward, because of the bridge new activities will start.



BD growth rate has been held back for many years because of poor infrastructure even for the region.

As this deficit is being closed then expect the rate of economic growth to get even higher as there will be less impediment to both locals and foreigners doing business.

Electricity deficit is gone now, we just need the bridges, roads and railways sorted.
 

Rushd Alam

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@bluesky I know you don't like this bridge but I think you would be happy to know that local contractors have learnt a lot from their involvement in this project alongside the Chinese. We might see them become self-sufficient in delivering medium-sized infrastructure on their own in the near future.
I have doubts on how much we have learnt. I was speaking to the guy incharge of karnaphuli tunnel project last month, he said the chienese keep secrecy of their design and work and do not want to share the know how. Even they have their design details and paperwork in mandarin so our engineers cannot pickup. Same maybe true for the bridge I fear.

But definitely the engineers who worked must have learned heaps. One day we may help other countries build their mega projects, insallah.

The inauguration was more of a propaganda about the Sheikh and his daughter rather than the achievement of the construction crew (mostly from China) and their hard work.

About the only thing I like about this is that she did not dare name it after herself, her son or her father.
Maybe she hasnt desided yet which name to put. Hers or her son's.

We will find out if this Bridge adds 2% to the GDP growth 📈 !
Insallah!!!
 

Bilal9

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No, no, I perfectly like this bridge because it will reduce my journey time to Faridpur by half,

But, I was complaining that we remain as illiterate peasants as our forefathers were 800 years ago. We are unable to do any little thing by ourselves.

Let us think of any future bridge. Either to be done by China, Japan, or Korea with borrowed money. But, did these countries allow others to do their domestic projects?

We are cheap and these countries are not.

Insha-Allah one day bhai.... I remain hopeful.

Already most of the Bangladeshi subcontractors working in this bridge have had their human intellectual and design capabilities improved - especially the largest one, Abdul Monem.

Contractors from countries like Korea did not improve their capabilities that quickly either (Hyundai, Samwhan, Daewoo etc.). These companies worked in the middle east (Gulf mostly) building infra under Japanese (Ohbayashi etc.) and US companies as a cheaper source subcontractor.

Eventually their expertise in Korea improved to the extent that they built the interconnecting freeways in their country in the late 70's and early 80's by themselves.

Almost all the infra in the Gulf and Saudi was built by Korean subcontractors after that time.

Jamuna bridge in Tangail was built by Samwhan corporation back in the day.
 

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