Padma bridge construction on own funds possible
Politicians , economists, labour leaders say at discussionStaff Correspondent
Politicians, economists and labour leaders at a discussion in the capital on Saturday said that it was possible to construct the proposed Padma multipurpose bridge own financing if a national consensus can be forged.
But the Awami League-led government must clarify whether it would build the bridge on its domestic funding or build it with the help of the World Bank after addressing the allegations of corruption as levelled by the bank for which it has cancelled the funding late June.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh organised the discussion, ‘Padma loan agreement: the roadmap of the World Bank and question of self reliance,’ at its central office.
Economist Anu Muhammad, also a teacher of economics in Jahangirnagar University, read out the keynote paper at the programme where he said that the government must clear the corruption changes through a transparent and effective investigation.
The difference between what the prime minister and the finance minister are saying must the eliminated, he said. The prime minister is talking about building the bridge on own funding and the finance minister is lobbying to get the World Bank funds.
He also called on the government to set up an independent commission to investigate irregularities in the ongoing projects of the World Bank in Bangladesh.
Anu, also member secretary of the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and ports, said that the World Bank had always discouraged initiatives for self-reliance in underdeveloped and developing countries and it was also involved in corruptions.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are involved in irregularities, bribery, corruptions and other forms of malpractice in their projects.
The Communist Party president, Manzurul Ahsan Khan, who presided over the discussion, said that it was the country stopped taking loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the country needed to have a national consensus for this. Left parties will work in forging such a consensus.
Economist MM Akash, also a central leader of the Communist Party, proposed that what was important was to begin the bridge construction on domestic financing and to investigate the allegations of corruption.
BIDS researcher Binayak Sen said that it was possible to build the Padma bridge on self-financing and any delay would only increase the construction cost.
‘We can mobilise foreign currency for the project releasing bonds for expatriate Bangladeshis,’ he said.
He called on left-leaning political parties to get united on the issue of the Padma bridge.
Labour leader Shahidullah Chowdhury said that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had reached corruption to village levels in Bangladesh.
He called on the government not to go by prescriptions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Independent University teacher Mohammad A Arafat said that the World Bank had not levelled any specific corruption charges against the government.
Jahangirnagar University teacher Mohammad Sahabuddin, Dhaka University teacher Shafiquzzaman and the CPB’s central leader Ruhin Hossain Prince also took part in the discussion.
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