Mahfuz Emran: The monthly toll collection target from Padma Bridge has been set at Tk 133.06 crore. As for the year, it will be Tk 1603 crore 98 lakh. Apart from the maintenance of the bridge, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority will repay the loan for the construction cost with this money. The bridge authority will pay Tk 36,000 crore with interest to the government of Bangladesh itself in 35 years, not to any development partner or organization.
According to the Bangladesh Bridge Authority, the Padma Multipurpose Bridge was constructed at a cost of Tk 30,193.39 crore with the own funds of the Bangladesh government. The Bangladesh Bridge Authority has taken the entire loan from the government. According to paragraph 2 of the agreement, the loan has to be repaid in 140 installments for 35 years with interest at the rate of 1% per annum after completion of the project. Besides, Tk 340 crore has to be paid as against Tk 211 crore taken during the preparation of the design.
In this regard, Road Transport and Bridges Minister ObaidulQuader said that the Bangladesh Bridge Authority has taken a loan from the government for the construction of the bridge. In the next 35 years, the government will have to pay Tk 36 thousand crore in interest.
Money is needed to pay off debts, bridge operation and maintenance costs, river management and tolls, taxes and VAT. This money will be collected by imposing toll on the vehicles plying on the bridge.
According to the Bangladesh Bridge Authority, the toll has been increased by a maximum of 50 percent based on the existing toll rates for ferry crossings. According to the toll rate collected by BIWTC on the Mawa-Jajira route ferries currently operating on the ferry (as of November 2020), Tk 5 crore 60 lakh per month and Tk 6 crore 20 lakh per annum are collected. If it is one and a half times, the toll will be Tk 103 crore 75 lakh as Tk 6 crore 75 lakh per month.
On the other hand, according to the detailed economic and financial analysis report of the Padma Bridge submitted by the consulting firm in 2010, the toll will be Tk 133 crore 7 lakh per month as one and a half times the ferry toll rate as a traffic forecast for 2022. On the basis of this report, the government expects to collect toll of Tk 1,603.96 crore annually.
According to sources, according to the 35-year loan repayment schedule mentioned in the loan agreement executed between the finance department and the Bangladesh Bridge Authority, a loan of Tk 598.06 crore has to be repaid in the first year of operation of vehicles on the bridge. It will gradually increase and in some years up to Tk 1,465 crore will have to be paid. Besides, maintenance and operation cost of the bridge, river management, VAT and tax payment will all have to be done from toll money. These issues have been considered in the case of toll collection.
The government has issued a circular fixing the toll of vehicles plying on the Padma Bridge. According to the notification, toll of motorcycle is Tk 100, toll of big bus is Tk 2400, toll of medium bus is Tk 2 thousand, toll of car and jeep is Tk 850, toll of four axle tailor is Tk 6000, toll of microbus is Tk 1300 and minibus (31 seats or less) Tk 1400 has been fixed.
Bangladesh Bridge Authority Executive Director (Secretary)Manzur Hossain said, “We have implemented Padma Bridge by signing a loan agreement with the government.” The government will have to repay the loan with interest which will come from toll collection. The toll rate has been fixed on the basis of our loan to the government, ferry fare and expert opinion.
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