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Article From News From Bangladesh archives


No headway in talks on arsenic project funding

There has been no development in a crucial meeting between the government and the World Bank (WB) over the fate of the Tk 189 crore Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project (BAMWSP) that formally ended Monday.

A meeting to decide whether the WB would continue funding the project was held yesterday afternoon between the state minister for Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) and WB's senior environment specialist Paul Martin.The meeting ended without any decision on the extension of the project.

The government, however, decided to continue funding the project from its own sources. A meeting in this regard was held with the state minister on Monday.

Bank officials in the meeting insisted that the government should complete the listed action plans, if the project is to receive continued funding.

An anonymous source in the bank said, "The government did not keep its promise to reach the goals, as agreed, in the four years. So, basically we expected an assurance from the state minister that the money this time would be utilised as planned."

On the continuity of management, the source said, "A period of fair amount of transition time in the management must be established but we don't mind changes in the top positions or any other posts in the project as long as a sound management exists."

Sources said the just-sacked Project Director Abdul Quader was blasted at the meeting for his poor performance and incomplete works. The present Project Director, Kamaluddin Ahmed, was also present.

Meanwhile the bank has not yet served any formal communication regarding the closure of credit. However, WB sources said that a statement is likely to be issued today on the decision of the project.

Sources also said that LGRD Minister Mannan Bhuiyan could meet the bank officials for a second round of 'negotiations'. (The Daily Star)



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