China

China assures to make up for coronavirus impact on mega projects: Momen

MNA Business Desk: China has assured Bangladesh of making up for the impact caused by coronavirus outbreak on the mega projects like Padma bridge.

The assurance came as he had a conversation with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi over the phone a couple of days ago, Bangladesh foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told newsmen after a programme in the city on Thursday.

He said though there was a disruption in project implementation due to the absence of many Chinese workers in the China funded projects, it would be made up for in the long run.

“…he [ assured me that China will send additional manpower to the projects so that the time loss can be made up for” Momen said.

The Bangladesh foreign minister shared this all with the newsmen when he was asked to comment on the Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming’s remark that project work was hindered due to the Bangladesh government’s decision of not providing on-arrival visa for Chinese nationals.

On Wednesday, Mr Jiming briefed the press at the Padma Bridge construction site, about the disruption in various projects being implemented by China.

Momen said that Bangladesh has also halted on-arrival visa for not only China but also for other countries like South Korea, Iran and Italy, which are highly affected by coronavirus.

He also revealed that the government has decided to conduct coronavirus screening for Bangladeshis coming home from these countries.

The Bangladesh foreign minister said the government has taken up all-out measures to prevent coronavirus outbreak and so far no one in Bangladesh is found affected with this high-spreading virus.

Responding to another question, he said the government will provide due protection and honour to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi when he visits Dhaka to attend the Mujib Birth Centenary Programme on March 17.

“India is our closest neighbour and the largest democracy in the world. We must provide due honour to the prime minister of India,” Momen said.

He also made it clear that any chaos centring Modi’s visit will be thwarted in an appropriate way. “The government has the ability to prevent any attempt to create chaos.”

He said former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee and Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi are also scheduled to attend Mujib Birth Centenary programmes. The details of their visits are yet to be finalised.

Momen said some MoUs would be signed during Modi’s visit to Dhaka but the number of the agreements has not been finalised yet. “You have to wait for that,” he added.

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