The government has cut the demand for more than Tk 18 billion from three major projects, including the Padma Bridge scheme, to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in Bangladesh.
According to officials, the Bangladesh Bridges Authority (BBA) made a demand for Tk 98.19 billion to execute six projects in the next fiscal year, 2020-21.
But it finally got approval of Tk 79.72 billion.
"BBA's demand for Tk 98.19 billion was placed based on finance division's ceiling. But it faced a severe cut in its budget first during an inter-ministerial meeting," said an official.
Finally, the budget got another slash in the annual development programme (ADP), he added.
The official said Tk 2.17 billion was decided for reduction at the ministerial meeting.
Sources said the BBA's demand was placed considering its ability to continue all the ongoing projects in the next fiscal as it managed the work amid lockdown.
But the deterioration in the overall coronavirus situation has forced the government to cut the budget.
"We're asked to reduce the demand more than the approved budget. We accentuated the need considering progress in Padma and Karnaphuli projects," said bridges division secretary Belayet Hossain.
He said the BBA has been able to carry the project work at Padma Bridge and Karnaphuli Tunnel despite the COVID-19 situation.
According to the BBA, Planning Commission (PC) approved Tk 50 billion against the demand for Tk 51.70 billion for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project.
It approved Tk 7.0 billion against the demand for Tk 7.47 billion for Karnaphuli Tunnel and Tk 6.5 billion against the demand for Tk 8.8 billion for Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway project.
The demand for Dhaka elevated expressway (DEE) development project and a subway feasibility study was not changed as the amount is necessary to acquire land and pay bills for consultancy.
The BBA's demand for supporting the DEE project was Tk 46.66 billion and subway project Tk 1.39.
It has included a new project for feasibility study which is included in the ADP at the last moment following a directive from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
A budget of Tk 409.8 million was approved to carry out the study to set up the second Payra Bridge on Katua-Betagi-Patuakhali-Lohania-Kanaia road.
The PC okayed the project at the PM's order as she received a schoolboy's letter citing their inability to go to school for lack of a bridge over the Payra.
Under the recently approved ADP budget, the BBA has also placed a demand for Tk 9.98 billion in project aid for Karnaphuli tunnel and Dhaka-Ashulia expressway.