The board members of the Bangladesh Bridge Authority on Thursday rejected recommendations for a 45 per cent increase in toll fees on an average for using Bangabandhu Bridge and Muktarpur Bridge.
Bridges Division secretary Mohammed Belayet Hossain told New Age that the recommendations were not approved at a board meeting of BBA considering the COVID-19 situation.
‘The meeting recommended that the proposed toll rates be reduced,’ he said and added that a revised proposal would again be presented at the next board meeting for primary approval.
Earlier a committee formed by the authority proposed a 38 per cent to 60 per cent increase in toll rates for Bangabandhu Bridge on the river Jamuna and a 20 per cent to 100 per cent increase for Muktarpur Bridge on the river Dhaleswari.
The committee also proposed separate toll fees for trailers for the first time and 5 per cent increase in toll fees every three years.
The recommendations were discussed on Thursday at the board meeting while the road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader joined the meeting virtually along with other members, including officials from the ministries of home affairs, finance and land.
According to the bridge authority, currently it collects toll from these two bridges only.
In 1997, toll fees for Bangabandhu Bridge were fixed for the first time and later the rates were increased by an average of 17 per cent in 2011.
Toll rates for Muktarpur Bridge or Sixth China-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge on Dhaka-Munshigonj road were fixed in 2008.
After the meeting, Bridges Division secretary Mohammed Belayet Hossain said that the board members had unanimously agreed that during the on-going coronavirus outbreak such a substantial hike in toll rates would not be reasonable.
The bridge authority would again prepare the recommendations considering a 20 per cent to 30 per cent increase in toll rates, he said.
The revised proposal would then be discussed again in the next board meeting which could be held next year in January or February, he added.
According to the bridges division, after getting approval from the board members the summary will be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for the final decision.
Meanwhile at the meeting, Obaidul Quader said that till now around 91 per cent physical works of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge had been concluded while the overall progress of the project was 82 per cent, said a press release issued by the division.
Currently the 5.55-kilometre stretch of the bridge was visible after 37 spans were set up out of the total 41, he continued and added that within this December the rest of the spans would be set up if the river current remained stable.
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