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Thursday, December 20, 2012
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Foundation stone by this govt

Hopes Muhith about Padma bridge

Finance Minister AMA Muhith hopes that the foundation stone of the Padma bridge will be laid during the tenure of the present government.

“I hope that the foundation stone of the bridge will be laid, and the construction of yards for the project will start before the tenure of the present government ends,” Muhith told reporters yesterday after a meeting of the cabinet purchase committee at the cabinet division.

He made the comment after reporters asked him about the fate of the Padma bridge project that once again ran into a snag.

Replying to a query, Muhith said, “The Padma bridge will be built with funds from co-financiers. But I don't know which financier will stay or leave the project.”

The minister earlier had discussions with Ellen Goldstein, World Bank country director for Bangladesh, at a function in the capital.

He said Goldstein's three-year tenure as country director in Bangladesh will end in about three months, and she will be replaced by another WB official.

Goldstein on Tuesday said they will inform the government about the Bank's decision after getting the WB external panel's opinion about the adequacy of the ACC investigation into the corruption allegations in the project.

Her comments came after the Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday sued seven persons for their involvement in a corruption conspiracy over the $2.9 billion project.

Muhith yesterday told reporters, “I have told Ellen that time is running out. We can't wait too long…Give your opinion soon.”

He said Goldstein, in reply, told him that it was her hunch that the WB might need time till January for giving its opinion.

The minister said, “I am still hopeful that they [the WB] will finance the Padma bridge project. I am absolutely certain that no corruption took place [in the project].”

Referring to the case filed by the ACC, Muhith said the WB provided the ACC with sufficient evidence on November 13 for filing case in connection with the corruption conspiracy. What the global lender gave the commission earlier was not “credible” according to Bangladesh laws.

And the ACC filed the case against seven persons on the basis of the evidence it received on November 13.

The evidence showed that the seven persons made arrangements to favour a party by exchanging some information, Muhith said.

He said there are allegations that the party involved in the corruption conspiracy met a minister [ex-communications minister Syed Abul Hossain], but this is not considered a crime in Bangladesh.

He said not only contractors but also ambassador of the country concerned meet a minister for securing a work order in a project.

“I am the only exception, as I have never met anyone in such a case,” Muhith said.

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What a pity! Anyone can lay a foundation stone for a bridge to the moon. What matters most is whether you delivered the bridge. And you did not deliver, Finance Minister.

: Mohammed

You can lay as many as foundation stones you want --btb good work on your solid foundation on pro corruption stance.

: rch


  • Truth Teller
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:27 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    Foundation stone means nothing to the people of Bangladesh. It may mean something to Sheikh Hasina with her name on it. That's her only satisfaction.

  • An Observer
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:27 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    Sure, bridge or no bridge, we must have a foundation stone by 2013 with someone's name in golden letter on it. That would make every Bangladeshi happy and 'the land of the fools' an abode of cheerful citizens.

  • niloufar sarker
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 01:38 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    Muhith should stop this hocus pocus about Padma Bridge & get down to business of investigation of the Hallmark scam in earnest. We could have started the PB with these Tk 4000 crores. Why is he mum about that? WB should have shied away from funding with this kind of corruption rampant under his watch.

  • Iam Brother
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 02:50 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    Really? And build the bridge too? Please don’t insult our intelligence. You had a wonderful opportunity to vindicate the nation – at least stand up for a just cause. You chose to lap-up. Does it ever bother you? Or the conscious is absolutely dead, buried, and done away with?

  • Nasim Hasan
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 03:00 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    The irony of the millennium... Nothing more I have found to comment about this man. Certainly he will be remembered by the people of Bangladesh as a symbol of mockery for a long time as 'Gopal Bhar' of 'Raja Krishnachandra'.

  • Selma
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 03:40 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    They can lay foundation stone and name it after criminal Sheikh Mujib but they will not get a penny from WB when they hide Abul, Suranjit and others from the law.

  • Barkat
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 03:50 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    Wish if this Finance Minister could work more and talks less. Every time he talk he creates either confusion or controversy. Overall his performance is RUBBISH.

  • Asad Zaman
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 05:27 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    Thank you Minister for showing the nation at least a hope that the incumbent government will start the construction works of yards and will lay the foundation stone of the historic Padma Bridge during its tenure. As an honest minister, you have made your best effort to convince the government to fulfill the requirements of the WB. You have also made your best effort to convince the WB that the country needs the funds for the bridge, but “time is running out…” and you need an answer soon. Now the ball is in the WB’s court. And the world is watching.

  • Nasirullah Mridha,USA
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 05:36 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    There are tendency of our incumbent government that their tenure's penultimate years they press on so many project on political consideration. Padma Bridge will be assimilating that category. Before getting the behemoth loans from any lending agency stone laid ceremony would be political stunt. Our presumption is as long as Abul is not including the ACC's litigation on Padma conspiracy WB will not u-turn on this project. Rather AL government could wait for the next government turn.

  • neutral
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 05:50 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    What a tug of war between reality and absurdity. The finance minister reminds of story told by the then Deputy commissioner of Dhaka in 1962-63 while he was speaking in tape cutting ceremony of a rural road built under rural works programme near Dhaka. Before independence of the Indian subcontinent,, the deputy commissioner was sub divisional officer in Mednipur in Paschim Banga. He made a very sarcastic remark about the foundation stone. He said that huge numbers of foundations stones were laid down by dignitaries from time to time remained careless once the ceremony was over. The fate of the foundation stones became a very suitable washing stone for the washer-man {Dhopa} of that time to use as their clothing wash-stone. I have no intention to undermine the optimism of the finance minister, but he has not given any concrete evidence that bridge might start during this regime in power. It is not running into snag only, it is a big puzzle one can comprehend and solve. The best and practical choice for the government of Bangladesh is to wait for the trail in Canada , once it is completed and the result is known then reopen the issue provided the result is available during the tenure of this government.

  • Jumana Sarwar
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 09:52 AM GMT+06:00 (164 weeks ago)

    Do you all work hard for the foundation stone? I live near magnificent Rocky Mountain; I can provide some of them for free.





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