PM opens Padma Bridge26 June 2022
Anisur Rahman Khan :
All eyes of the nation were glued with the transitional moment of the opening ceremony of the Padma Bridge as it has connected the Southern region with the rest of the country.
The long-awaited dream has finally come true by the hands of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday when she inaugurated the bridge at the Mawa point where tens of thousands of people were swaying with excitement and joy.
The Bridge is not a structure of concrete and steel, but it’s a symbol of pride, confidence, determination and capacity of Bangladesh.
Despite withdrawal of fund by the World Bank and other international agencies on the plea of corruption charges, the whole world is now witnessing the Padma Bridge standing by its own finance.
The whole area were decked with colourful banners, festoons and people were chanting slogans of dream fulfilled as the bridge has removed their age-old sufferings of travelling in the turbulent waters of mighty river Padma.
Diplomats and leaders from different political parties, civil society members and government officials, including secretaries and other invited guests, were present at the grand opening ceremony.
People said that from now on they will be able to move from Dhaka to the Southern districts without any hazard as so long they had to face at Mawa and Jajira ferry ghats. It will also cut travel time hugely and their businesses will boom as the bridge has removed the previous hurdles.
Not only the bridge will enhance the connectivity and deepen multi-modal transport linkages, but also it would play as an economic corridor rather than just as a transport corridor.
As per the premier's programme schedule, the prime minister has alsounveiled commemorative postage stamps, souvenir sheets, opening day cover and seals at Mawa point to mark the grand opening of the country's biggest self-financed mega project which is likely to boost GDP by 1.2-2 percent.
The bridge can also act as a driver to establish sub-regional economic integration in BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) region.
The Padma Bridge project has been implemented at a cost of Tk 30,193.39 crore with almost 100 percentinternal funding which is believed to bring a new world to the country's economy by connecting 21 southwestern districts through roads and railways with the capital.
However, marking the grand opening of the dream project, a festive mood is prevailing in the country, particularly in the southern and southwestern region which will be directly facilitated through the major road connectivity.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the country’s longest bridge, overcoming three pronged challenges - financial, engineering and political.
‘’It is not just an infrastructure of brick, cement and steel, rather a symbol of Bangladesh's pride, honour and ability’’ she said while inaugurating the Padma Bridge.
The event came 25 years after she opened the Bangabandhu Bridge on the Jamuna River, another most powerful stream, linking northwest with Dhaka and other parts of the country in 1998, until when that was Bangladesh's longest multipurpose bridge.
"The Padma Bridge has been completed. Bangladesh's economy has not collapsed. The country is moving forward at a breakneck pace. We have proved to the world, 'We can too'," the Prime Minister said during her speech at the inauguration ceremony of Padma Bridge on Saturday.
She further said, "Padma Bridge is therefore not only a bridge to prove one's self-esteem and ability of the Bengalis, but also revenge to insult that was done to the entire nation. The people of Bangladesh are the source of my courage. I salute them."
Before the opening of the Padma Bridge, the premier also took photos with the concerned officials involved in construction of the bridge.
Unveiling the plaque, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has initiated the process of giving toll to cross the much-awaited Padma Multipurpose Bridge.
The premier became the first person to cross the Padma Bridge by paying toll and went to the Jajira end to join a public rally.
Several political and diplomatic analysts even some overseas partners had also speculations that the project would eventually be a failure.
But, at last, the mighty Padma River becomes conquered and people living on both the banks are no more helpless as they have now got the connectivity with both sides.
The dream bridge which will not only establish the long-awaited direct road and rail communications between Capital city Dhaka and south-western parts of the country, but also opened up the doors of greater connectivity and trade among the Asian countries.
The people of southwestern region will drive straight to Dhaka by road, leaving the awful nightmare of ferry ghat, as they will now cross the river in just six minutes over the bridge from Sunday.
The Padma Bridge became visible with the installation of the first span on 37th and 38th number pillars on September 30, 2017.
Later, all 41 spans were installed on 42 pillars one after another. The entire structure of the multi-purpose 6.15 kilometer Padma Bridge became visible with installation of its last 41st span on December 10, 2020.
The construction works began in December, 2015 as the premier inaugurated the river training work and main construction works of Padma Multipurpose Bridge project at Jajira point in Shariatpur district on December 12 in 2015.
But, the prime minister formally laid the foundation stone of the Padma Bridge at Mawa in Munshiganj on July 4 in 2001.