“There have been some media reports that the funds for Padma bridge are being diverted to other sectors. This is completely untrue,” he told an urgent media briefing in his office.
Building the Padma bridge was a top priority for the government, said Quader.
“Any report on the Padma bridge should be properly verified and published with due caution.
“Project funds cannot be left lying idle. In May we may have to return almost Tk 50 billion, but in the next budget it will again be allocated to the project. Rather the allocation may even be larger,” he said.
The minister said work order for the main bridge would be handed out in June.
“We have the money that we need to pay in the first year after issuing the work order. We also have funds for the approach roads and service areas.”
On Mar 11, three contractor firms were asked to submit their financial proposals for constructing the main bridge after primary approval.
The 6.15 km bridge will establish direct road link between Dhaka and the 21 southern districts.
The government claims the bridge, when commissioned, will add 1.2 percentage points to the country’s economic growth.
The government decided to finance the bridge from its own resources after withdrawing the funding request from the World Bank.
The World Bank had alleged corruption in the appointment of consultants.