With the Padma Bridge project reaching a remarkable crescendo, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said the overall progress of the Padma bridge project is over 81 percent now while the main bridge has witnessed the completion of 90 percent work so far.
He was addressing a review meeting on the work progress of the Padma bridge project joining it from his official residence on parliament premises.
Pointing to officials and employees working at the Padma bridge project, he said "You will remain proud of being connected with the milestone project. You should not do anything that can harm the image of the project as it is the highest priority project of the government."
The minister urged the officials and employees concerned to work with utmost sincerity and honesty to take the project ahead.
Mentioning that there is no financial crisis in the Padma bridge project, he said as long as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina holds the helm of the country, there will be no financial crisis in the project while necessary allocation has also been given in the national budget for the project.
Quader said the Padma bridge construction work has reached its present position after overcoming different hurdles and conspiracies as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the decision of constructing the Padma bridge with domestic fund defying all criticism.
Thirty-one spans of the bridge out of total 41 have already been installed in the river Padma with making 4,650 metres of the bridge visible, he added.
Mentioning that the Padma is one of the unpredictable rivers in the world, the minister said soil condition and other things get changed sometimes in the river while in recent time, it has not been possible to install some spans due to heavy current of the river.
Quader, also Awami League General Secretary, said the Padma bridge construction work did not remain stopped for a single moment during the coronavirus pandemic. When the country's other development works witnessed a pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, spans were installed on the Padma bridge one after another, he added.
Quader extended his thanks to all local and foreign officials and employees concerned with the project for taking ahead the works during the coronavirus pandemic with maintaining health guidelines properly.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been intensely overseeing the construction work and giving necessary directives.
Six spans have been readied for installation and when the water flow will recede, these spans will be installed, he said adding that work of 42 piers has been completed while the river training work progress is around 74 percent.
Earlier, works of link roads and toll plazas in Mawa and Janjira points have been completed while works of setting up deck slab on the bridge is going on, he said.
The country's first beautiful expressway from Dhaka to Mawa and from Pachhar to Bhanga has been opened up to vehicular movement, he said adding that once the Padma bridge is completed, the economic condition of the country's southeastern part will get changed radically.
About the BNP secretary general's remarks over the Election Commission (EC)'s initiative on amending the political party registration law, Quader said it is the jurisdiction of the EC to take any decision on election matters as it is a constitutional institution.
"If we have anything to say over the matter, we will inform the Election Commission," he said.
The AL general secretary said the EC works independently to hold any election in a proper manner and the government does not interfere in it but cooperate with the commission.
In light with the Constitution, the government will also extend its cooperation to the EC in holding a free, fair and participatory election in the coming days as well, he added.
Mentioning that BNP wins in some elections and loses in others under the current Election Commission, the AL general secretary said it is the characteristic of BNP to shift the liability on the EC and election system, if the party loses in any polls but if they win, they claim they could get more votes to make the margin of victory bigger.
The AL general secretary said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir won the parliamentary polls under the current EC but he did not take the oath, on the other hand, his party men are representing in parliament.
If he (Fakhrul) would stay in parliament, he could give strong message as an opposition party lawmaker but "I think he betrayed with the people's trust" by not joining parliament, he added.
Mentioning that EC is formed in a constitutional process, the minister said the President constituted a search committee for the formation of the EC and BNP representative was also in the committee.
But, during the BNP's tenure, the name of Awami League was never uttered during the formation of the EC, he added.
Quader said it is not the jurisdiction of the government to form EC or dissolve it. The President will take necessary measures in due time to this end, he added.