Dozens of local suppliers and subcontractors of Padma Bridge Rail Link Project (PBRLP) are suffering due to the blockage of the construction access roads.
One part of the route of the PBRLP starts from CH25 (KUCHIMORA) to CH81 (BHANGA) and is parallel to the N8 highway. All kinds of materials and machineries used in PBRLP construction, including concrete, steel bars, sub-grade filler, box girder and other materials, were being transported to the construction site through this N8 highway.
Since June 11, 2020 the N8 Highway authority began closing passage between the main road and the mentioned service road. As the main road allowing heavy vehicles to pass through is completely closed, vehicles transporting materials cannot reach the construction site through it, while the service road that can reach the construction site is not allowing heavy-load vehicles to pass through. As a result, all vehicles transporting materials for PBRLP will not be able to enter the construction site, and the construction of the section of CH25-CH81, nearly 56km long, will be forced to face a complete shutdown. Consequently, a total of 36 local suppliers and subcontractors with their thousands of employees are suffering enormously. Such a suffering inflicts more harm in the current situation of pandemic.
It is notable that a coordination meeting was convened among the relevant parties to resolve this issue and at this meeting the contractor of PBRLP agreed that they will assign a sufficient number of traffic management staff, provide road-protection facilities, and carry out reparation if their trucks damage N8 road. Unfortunately, the N8 road still remains closed to the trucks carrying construction materials for PBRLP. It is understood that the CSC military supervision, the N8 highway authority, Bangladesh Railways and the RHD highway management department have initiated dialogues on this issue several times, but no consensus has been reached as of yet. Hence, the PBRLP project is currently facing suspension and heavy financial loss.
PBRLP is one of the key projects which are under construction in Bangladesh. It is forecasted to boost the economy of Bangladesh by 1.5%. Even during the COVID-19 outbreak, the contractor, CREC (China Railway Group Limited), did not suspend the construction due to the tight schedule of the project. Instead, CREC took a number of epidemic prevention measures at its own expenses, such as building a large number of independent accommodation areas for workers, distributing epidemic prevention materials completely free of charge, providing living subsidies, etc., in order to ensure that the construction of the PBRLP would not be interrupted.