Dhaka, Jul 9 (bdnews24.com) – Opposition BNP has advised the government to settle the row with the World Bank over funding the Padma bridge construction through discussions and to drop the plan to execute the project with own money by stretching the people.
"We aren't in a financial position enough to execute a large project like the Padma bridge with our own money," BNP Standing Committee Member M K Anwar said while speaking at a discussion at the Dhaka Reporters Unity on Monday.
"The economy of Bangladesh is in dire straits. The Prime Minister will have to consider this," he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's idea to issue sovereign bonds and impose surcharges to collect the money to build the bridge would impact the economy negatively putting pressure on the people, Anwar said.
Instead, he suggested, the government should make a compromise with the World Bank and other lenders.
The World Bank cancelled $1.2 billion fund it had pledged to build the $2.9-billion bridge following allegations of corruption in the project.
"I suggest the government to leave the path (of funding the bridge on its own) and take steps after impartial investigation into the allegations of corruption," he added.
The Primer Minister told parliament on Sunday that the work to build the bridge would start in the current fiscal year, which would cost an estimated Tk 225.5422 billion.
The government would collect the money by issuing bonds and imposing surcharges, she said.
Anwar said: "We think that it will be burden the people and hamper (the progress) of the nation if the money is collected by issuing bonds abroad."
"Imposing surcharge on telephone services, the primary mode of communication for the ordinary people, would increase their sufferings. This is unacceptable," he added.
At another discussion at the National Press Club, Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque demanded making names of the people public involved in the alleged corruption in the bridge project.
"We'll help the government build the bridge with our own fund. But the corrupt people responsible for giving the World Bank the chance to tarnish Bangladesh's image will have to be named," he said.
Pointing his finger at the Prime Minister and her kin, he said: "People want to know how much property you owned earlier and how much you have now."
"How have you bought houses in London and America?" he questioned.