May 26, 2013 | 03:04 AM (BD Time)
26 May, 2013 Sunday
Obaidul Quader urges foreign friends
Request WB to reconsider Padma Bridge fund
. UNB, Dhaka
Communications Minister Obaidul Quader has urged the foreign friends of Bangladesh to request the World Bank to reconsider its funding to the proposed Padma Bridge Project.
"I request our foreign friends to tell the new president of the World Bank to reconsider its loan for the Padma Bridge Project," he said at a seminar at Sonargaon Hotel in the city on Monday morning.
The World Bank on Friday cancelled its $ 1.2 billion credit in support of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, the country's largest-ever infrastructure project, citing corruption concerns.
South Korean Embassy in Dhaka organised the seminar on 'South Asia Infrastructure Project Plaza 2012 in Bangladesh'.
South Korean Ambassador Taiyoung Cho and KOTRA regional director general of Asia Heuiro Yoon also spoke at the seminar.
Speaking as the chief guest, Obaidul Quader said the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), a free and independent body, has been investigating the World Bank's graft allegation on the Padma Bridge project.
He said: "The allegation is still under investigation. Before concluding the investigation you can not say anyone guilty. You can not punish the country's 160 million people."
Terming the Padma Bridge as a dream project, the Communications Minister said: "If it is proved that we are guilty, we are prepared to accept any punishment. But the country's 160 million people are not guilty."
He said that if someone is found involved in the alleged corruption, the people of the country will give proper answer through ballot in the next parliamentary elections.
Talking to reporters on the sideline of the seminar, Quader further said that although the World Bank has already cancelled its credit for the Padma Bridge Project, the other World Bank-funded projects will not face any hindrance.
He said the government will sign agreement with alternative source of funding for the Padma Bridge project keeping in mind the affordability and interest of the people.
Earlier on Sunday, the Communications Minister expressed the firm commitment of the government saying that although the World Bank has cancelled its funding to the proposed Padma Bridge project, the government will start the construction work on its main infrastructure within the stipulated time.
"We're strongly committed to starting the construction work on the main infrastructure of the Padma Bridge Project within the stipulated time," he told reporters at his Secretariat office on Sunday morning.
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