Dhaka: Bangladesh's government is seeking donations from its citizens to build a USD 3-billion bridge over the Padma river after the World Bank cancelled a loan deal for the project, citing graft allegations.

Bangladesh Bank ordered all state-owned and private commercial banks to open "collection accounts" in their branches to receive donations from resident and expatriate Bangladeshis, the central bank said in a circular late on Wednesday.

The central bank said it issued the order on behalf of the Finance Ministry.

The donations will be free of any service charge and will be deposited in the state treasury at the end of every month, the central bank added.

The finance ministry said the government took the decision after "continued interest and enthusiasm among the people to participate in the construction of the Padma Bridge".

The World Bank cancelled its USD 1.2-billion finance package for the bridge, saying the government had not cooperated in investigating "high-level" corruption at the heart of the project.


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