A Korean company is likely to get the operational and maintenance (O&M) work of the Padma bridge at a higher rate than Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge under the government-to-government arrangement.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday gave the BBA to go ahead with the proposal by Korean Expressway Corporation (KEC) as an unsolicited one.
Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) sent the KEC’s proposal to the CCEA last week after getting the technical committee’s comment on it.
The BBA earlier on September 12, 2019signed an unconditional memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the KEC after the Economic Relations Division (ERD) forwarded the request from the Korean Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport to select the company for the work.
Official sources said the BBA took the decision to get the CCEA’s approval for avoiding any complication in connection with awarding the contract as the O&M service provider.
“We need the permission from the higher authoritiesas the value of the work exceeds the BBA’s limit of Tk 5.0 million,” said an official.
Citing example of Bangabandhu Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge (BJMB), he said, the O&M cost of the country’s longest bridge would be much higher than the BBA’s limit.
According to the BBA record, 6 per cent of the collected toll is spent as maintenance cost of the O&M service provider of the 4.9-km bridge constructed in 1998.
The BBA has estimated the cost of O&M of the country’s longest bridge to be 7.5 per cent of the annual earning for having its length of 6.15-km.
According to the BBA record of fiscal year 2018-19, the earnings from the BJMB was Tk 5.74 billion, from which Tk 330 million was paid to the service provider as maintenance cost.
Bridge secretary Mohammad Belayet Hossain said the BBA has been working on appointing the O&M service provider from now considering the expected opening up of the much-cherished bridge by June next year.
He, however, said the Korean company’s selection will depend on their financial report which is yet to be submitted.
However, a competent source said the approval was necessary as the CCEA in a meeting in August, 2015 recommended avoiding unsolicited proposal other than special circumstances.
According to the BBA officials, the Korean company has proposed to introduce various modern technical systems including structural health monitoring system, traffic information application, real time road pavement damage detection system and electronic toll collection system to carry overall operational and maintenance work of the bridge.
It has also proposed to use sensors at different points of the bridge, drones and mobile data to better manage the bridge.