The China Railway Group Limited, contractor for the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, has urged the Bangladesh government to reopen flights between China and Bangladesh as the suspension of flights is severely hampering project work.
In a press release on Saturday, the China Railway Group Limited or CREC, said the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project is an important cooperation project between China and Bangladesh. At present, the project is in full swing and project personnel require frequent travel between China and Bangladesh.
Around 30 persons involved in the project, including project managers, safety and quality personnel, and technical construction personnel in key positions, need to travel between China and Bangladesh every week.
Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, the project management personnel and on-site labour organisation arrangements have been continuously affected. And now, the flight suspension policy has further worsened the project's progress.
If these personnel cannot return timely to the construction site from China, some working procedures are going to be difficult to implement, and some works will have to be suspended. This will directly affect the progress of the construction, feared the CREC.
The Chinese contractor also said that despite the pandemic, trading and other operations between China and Bangladesh have increased in January-February this year. At present, the pandemic situation in China has been effectively controlled. The Chinese personnel who came to Bangladesh were all vaccinated with two shots, and therefore they will not pose any risk of infection to Bangladesh.
At the same time, the personnel in many key positions said they would not want to come to Bangladesh again if the Bangladesh government formulates a policy of centralised quarantine in designated places for Chinese personnel who will return to Bangladesh in the future. These factors have seriously affected the progress of the project.
With the deterioration of the pandemic situation in Bangladesh, the suspension of flights has also led to serious congestion of ships that carry steel beams, steel bars, geotechnical materials, etc, ordered by the project in Chattogram.
Besides, the high port demurrage charges, additional port storage charges and fuel charges have caused the project severe financial loss. The mobilisation of steel beams, rails, and more, also had to be delayed, posing a challenge to the supply of project materials.
The CREC said it appreciates the efforts made by the Bangladesh government to control Covid-19 and will follow the epidemic prevention rules of the government. However, the smooth execution of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project matters a lot for the wellbeing of their local subcontractors and 5,000 strong families of local employees.