Making history, authorities have employed several women for collecting tolls of the 6.15km long Padma Bridge – which opened for public use at 6am on Sunday.
According to officials, this is the first time ever that female employees will be in charge of the one or more toll booths of a Bangladeshi bridge, reports Prothom Alo.
A joint venture of Korea Expressway Corporation (KEC) and the China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd (MBEC) has been appointed for ensuring maintenance and realizing toll at the Padma Multipurpose Bridge for the next five years at a cost of Tk692.92 crore.
At the Jazira end of the bridge, both male and female employees were seen busy collecting tolls from the large number of vehicles plying the Padma Bridge.
They were hired and trained by KEC and MBEC.
Lima Akhter, on duty in one of the five booths operational at the Jazira point today, said that she was very happy to be given the responsibility of collecting tolls for the Padma Bridge.
"I had previous experience of working on various government projects. Mine is an eight-hour-long shift," Lima, a student of Madaripur Government College, added.
When contacted, Bangladesh Bridge Authority Supervising Engineer Md Abul Hossain (Monitoring), said, "This is a first for Bangladesh. Each booth has one male and one female toll collector."
The government on 17 May finalised the toll rate for different types of vehicles for crossing the Padma Multipurpose Bridge. The Bridges Division under Road Transport and Bridges Ministry issued a gazette notification in this regard.
According to the government decision, Tk100 toll has been fixed for motorbikes, Tk750 for private cars and jeeps, Tk1,200 for pick-up trucks, Tk1,300 for microbus, Tk1,400 for small buses (with 31 seats), Tk2,000 for middle-sized buses (with 32 seats), Tk2,400 for big-size buses, Tk1c600 for small trucks (five tonnes), Tk2,100 for middle-sized trucks (over five tonnes to eight tonnes), Tk2,800 for middle-sized trucks (over eight tonnes to 11 tonnes), Tk5,500 for big trucks (up to three excel) Tk6,000 for trailer trucks (four excel) and Tk6,000 plus for trailers (over four excel).
Earlier, on Saturday, Bangladesh wrote another golden chapter in history when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the Padma Bridge turning the nation's dream into a reality.