Padma Bridge: A display of local industries’ prowess
While the construction of the Padma Bridge with the country's own fund has buoyed the nation's confidence, the longest bridge in Bangladesh has also given an opportunity to local industries to demonstrate their prowess to both local and global audiences that they can make quality materials.
A number of key ingredients used in building the bridge are made in Bangladesh and local industries supplied the construction materials.
For example, about 92,000 tonnes of steel were used in the construction of the main structure of the project. Local millers supplied most of the steel, with BSRM alone accounting for 88,000 tonnes or 96 per cent of the total.
Dewan Abdul Quader, executive engineer of the bridge project, says the local companies have contributed a lot to the bridge's construction and they have also received a major boost.
"Around 30 per cent of the contribution to this project came from local sources."
The contribution of the local companies was more in supplying rods, cement, sands and stones in the river training, building approach roads on both sides of the bridge, and other infrastructures related to the mega project.
Beginning construction in November 2014, the 6.15-kilometre bridge will connect 21 districts in the southwestern region to the rest of Bangladesh after its inauguration tomorrow. Built at the cost of nearly Tk 30,200 crore, the bridge is expected to spur Bangladesh's economic growth through increased connectivity and economic activities.
Tapan Sengupta, deputy managing director at BSRM Group of Companies, said more than 95 per cent of the rod was supplied by BSRM from the beginning to the end.
He credited the quality of products of international standards produced by the biggest steel manufacturer in Bangladesh for it being selected to meet the demand for the key construction material.
"We were chosen because of our ability in ensuring the quality of products and services and the capability of delivering products," he said.
"Padma Bridge is the pride of the country and we are proud to have supplied locally manufactured rods for such a prestigious project."
According to Sengupta, there was no complaint about BSRM products from the construction firm.
What is more, it kept its factory open during lockdowns in order to guarantee an uninterrupted supply for the mega project.
About 2.5 lakh tonnes of cement were used in the main structure of Padma Bridge and all of them came from domestic sources.
Of the volume, Scan Cement provided around 2.25 lakh tonnes alone.
Bashundhara Cement, Crown Cement, Abul Khair Group's Shah Cement and Seven Circle Group's Seven Rings Cement have also supplied the item to complete the construction of various components of the bridge.
"Our materials, manufactured in Bangladesh, were used in the columns of the main structure," said Sayef Nasir, director for sales at HeidelbergCement Bangladesh, which markets Scan Cement.
"Our quality was the key parameter for being selected as a supplier of cement."
Premier Cement Mills Ltd supplied cement to the bridge project along with the undergoing Padma Rail Link Project.
"Padma Bridge is a milestone project. We are proud to be part of it," said Mohammed Amirul Haque, managing director of the manufacturer.
Not only steel and cement, locally made cables were also used in the bridge for its lighting, various establishments on both sides of the Padma Bridge and sub-stations.
BRB Cable Industries Ltd, the country's largest cable manufacturer, supplied various types of cables used in the project.
"We have been supplying cables for the last three years," said Rafiqul Islam Rony, director of sales of the company.
The supplies can be valued at around Tk 30 crore.
"We are really proud that we could participate in the making of such a big project. We really feel good when we see lights illuminating the bridge using our cables," Rony said.
In addition, locally made pipes were used in the bridge.
RFL Group supplied high-density polyethylene and PVC cable ducting pipe and zinc-coated w-beam guardrail, said RN Paul, its managing director.