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Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader

Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader has said that the World Bank Country Director in Bangladesh will be invited to the inauguration ceremony of Padma Bridge on June 25.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already instructed us about the invitation, he told reporters at BRAC centre Inn after a programme on the day.

He also said that government would invite the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson, Khaleda Zia to the programme if the law permits.

“As she is a convict, we will know the system first and then take steps according to that,” Quader told reporters.

“We’ll invite BNP leaders and coalition partners including left leaning parties,” he continued.

“The government will invite them to the programme as Padma Bridge is a symbol of the nation’s ability,” he added.

Quader, who is also the Road Transport and Bridges minister, directly invited the WB Country Director in Bangladesh, Mercy Tembon, to the programme and said that they would send her letter in this regard.

The minister said that they would also invite some of the Awami League leaders who opposed the Padma Bridge project.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the much-awaited Padma Bridge for traffic on June 25 at 10:00am.

Currently, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) is implementing the 6.15-kilometre road-cum-rail Padma Bridge under a fast-track project between Mawa point in Munshiganj and Janjira point in Shariatpur to connect the capital with 21 south-western districts of the country.

The government decided to build the Padma Bridge with local fund after the World Bank in 2012 cancelled a $1.2 billion loan deal claiming to have identified “possible corruption risks”.

The initial estimate drawn up in 2007-08 fiscal year for the bridge was Tk 10,161 crore.

The project deadline was extended till June 2022 and, in 2018, its cost went up to Tk 30,193 crore from the initially estimated cost of Tk 10,161 crore.