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The Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) will be the longest bridge of its type with 6.15 kilometre of length. This will connect the south-western parts with the capital and is expected to save hundreds of thousands of working hours and huge transport costs.

PMB is a high priority national project. It would change the economic landscape of the south-western region and ultimately uplift the national economy.

Malaysia and Bangladesh on 10th April 2012, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration in the construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, the largest bridge to be built in Bangladesh.

Under the MoU, the Malaysian Government will form a consortium of Malaysian companies to implement the project on a build, operate, own and transfer concession basis.

Construction of the PMB, which will be carried out entirely by a Malaysian consortium, is scheduled to commence this year and is expected to be completed in 54 months.

This mega project will be finance by loans from IDB (Islamic Development Bank) and ADB (Asian Development Bank).

PMB will build the first fixed crossing across the Padma River for road traffic comprising a two-level steel truss composite bridge 6.15 km long, the top deck to accommodate a four-lane highway and the lower deck to accommodate a single-track railway to be added in the future.

Also to be constructed is a 12.0 km of approach roads, 1.5 km on the Mawa side and 10.5 km on the Janjira side.

It also include bridge-end facilities including toll plazas and service areas and river training with dredging and bank protection works, 1.5 km on the Mawa side and 12 km on the Janjira side, to regulate flow and prevent damage to the bridge structure.

The PMB will also have a component to develop cost-recovery mechanisms to ensure investment sustainability and to carry out institutional capacity building to ensure sustainable asset management.

Bangladesh is a riverine country, and the major rivers flowing through it are the Ganges, Jamuna, Meghna, and Padma.

Jamuna Bridge of Bangladesh is one of the most...

Jamuna Bridge of Bangladesh is one of the most notable in South Asia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Padma River is formed by the confluence of the Ganges and the Jamuna rivers. The river, about 5 km wide with braided, turbulent, and shifting flows, has been a major transport barrier between the southwest zone and the northwest and east zones.

At present, passengers and freight are transported across the river by ferry and, to a lesser extent, by launches and rowboats.

Their services are grossly inadequate in terms of both capacity and service level. Existing ferry services involve long and unpredictable waits at terminals lacking basic amenities.

Flooding, fog, and other difficult weather conditions routinely cause services to be suspended or cancelled.

The completion of the Jamuna Bridge in June 1998 improved the connectivity of the northwest zone to the economically important east zone, thus accelerating the northwest zone socioeconomic development and alleviating poverty in the country as a whole.

Similar impacts are expected with the opening of the proposed PMB.

The bridge is expected to have sub regional impacts by forming part of the Asian Highway Route A-1, the main Asian Highway route connecting Asia to Europe.

In 2005, ADB provided technical assistance (TA) to complement Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) feasibility study, which confirmed the technical and economic viability of the PMB.

The TA aimed as well to develop a public-private partnership (PPP) for the project, which would have required several preparatory measures and conditions such as creating an enabling environment for what is a new concept in Bangladesh through a comprehensive fiscal, financial, and legal policy framework, building capacity in the executing agency; and implementing a vast public communication plan.

The TA therefore did not recommend pursuing PPP. However, it is envisaged that the operation and maintenance of the bridge will involve the private sector.

The project is classified involuntary resettlement category A and indigenous people’s category C in accordance with ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement (2009).

A 100% census based on the detailed design identified 13,578 households that will suffer impacts on livelihoods and assets such as income from day labour, agricultural land, residential and commercial assets, and trees.

Of this number, 3,886 will be physically displaced and 9,692 will be economically displaced.

A resettlement framework and three separate resettlement action plans have been prepared based on ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement and other co-financiers’ safeguard polices to address all losses.

The complete details of compensation rates for the loss of assets, development of resettlement sites, shifting and transitional assistance, and other income-restoration assistance, including additional support for vulnerable groups, are in the entitlement matrixes of the resettlement action plans.

Four resettlement sites are being developed for displaced households.

A public consultation and participation plan has been developed for project implementation to ensure that adequate and timely information is made available to the affected people.

Source: bba.gov.bd and BERNAMA


(this article written for 1BINA.my)