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22nd-Nov-2020

Padma Bridge Future Impacts On Economy

By Md. Zillur Rahaman

The importance of our transport system has made proper attention after the Liberation War of 1971 and the main constraints were zig-zag river and ferry. The people of the northern parts of Bangladesh never thought that they will come back from Dhaka in the same day and after inauguration of Bangabandhu Bridge on June 23, 1998, the dream has been fulfilled of the northern peoples and in that time, the initiative has been taken to make a bridge on Padma River to connect the southern parts with Dhaka.
However, Padma Bridge is expected to change not only the socioeconomic structure of southern parts of Bangladesh, it will also create positive impacts on the whole economy of our country. It will also connect many countries of South and Southeast Asia and will contribute on communication, trade, industry, tourism and many other sectors in various ways. Overall, it will be the materialization of long waited dreams.
On the other hand, it will be the parts of trans-Asian railway and many cargo trains will be run over it. It will also connect between the Dhaka Chottogram and Mongla Payra seaports. New dimension will be added in our national economy and it will contribute in growth and development of the country.
Communication is called the pillar of economic development and definitely Padma Bridge will play the dominant role in this aspect. Economic growth and development of a country depends upon a good transport system and all economic activities recycle it. Agricultural product, raw materials and finished goods of industry depend on the easy transport system and it helps to low cost transfer and earns a reasonable market prices.
Padma Bridge will change the economic activity of southern districts and employment opportunities will be created significantly in those areas. One side of the bridge is Mawa of Munshiganj and other side is Jajira of Shariatpur and both sides are important for tourism, industry and housing facilities. Southern districts will be the prime source of production and raw materials supply and many labor forces will be deployed against it and it will create new opportunity for our economy.
The main obstacle between the Dhaka and northern parts was the Jamuna River which was the hindrance of everyday affairs of those people and lastly whenever the Bangabandhu Bridge has been accomplished, then the economic scenario of the northern peoples are changing rapidly. They are being benefited in various ways- employment generation, industrialization, raw materials quick procurement, poverty reduction and everything was changed in positively.
A combined transport system will be established based on Padma Bridge. The southern part of Bangladesh is already being developed in agriculture since long and after the Padma Bridge completion, the raw materials will be reached in Dhaka and other parts easily. It will be reflected in the whole economy, direct network will be connected in Payra, Mongla, chottogram seaports and other land ports. Generally 12 percent rate of return in investment is considered as good and after the Padma Bridge, the rate of return will be 19 percent which is very much viable for all types of investment. The Padma  Bridge will contribute in agriculture, industry, economy, education, trade in every sector positively.
The Padma Bridge will improve the communication system between Dhaka and Kuakata, as a result, many tourists will visit at Kuakata, Sunderban and its surrounding area and a strong communication network will be built up in the surrounding area's small islands, like Maldives. After the completion of Padma Bridge, the tourists will reach Kuakata and Sunderban, much less time than the Cox'sbazar and then the potential of tourists in southern parts will be increased manyfolds. If the Payra Port is fully being started, then many industries will be set up in its surrounding area and then many employment opportunities will be created and definitely life style of this area will be changed dramatically. Already many local and foreign potential investors are purchasing land beside Payra Port in order to set up new industry.
New mega city will be built up on both side of Padma Bridge like Singapore and Shanghai of China. Many housing projects have already been initiated and long term plan is needed from government initiative to set up the same in a well planned but organised way. It has a good potential of hotel, motel and many tourist spot for amusement. Industrial project can be procured through long term plan, airport and administrative capital can be established to reduce the population pressure on Dhaka City. Padma Bridge will be the focus point of Asian and Southeast Asian communication system.
If the bridge is completed, then it will contribute 1.20 percent in the national GDP and in the same time, the poverty will reduce 0.84 percent. It will change the socioeconomic life of more than 60 million peoples of southern 21 districts. Once it has touched extreme poverty (locally called monga) in the northern parts of Bangladesh and economist said it has reduced the poor and ultra poor people significantly after the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge on Jamuna River. Similarly southern parts of Bangladesh are lagging behind the industry since long and the Padma Bridge has opened the new potential of industry in this region. Then the extreme poverty of the southern parts will be reduced significantly and they will be benefited in various ways.

(Mr. Zillur is a banker and freelance contributor, Email: zrbbbp@gmail.com)