Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the quarters who hatched a conspiracy over the construction of the Padma Bridge now awaited a befitting reply as the landmark structure was set to be erected completely eventually with completion of its 60 percent works.
“We will give them a befitting reply who wanted to tarnish Bangladesh’s image and obstruct its development pace and economic progress by raising corruption allegations into the project,” she said while addressing a civic rally near the Padma Bridge Toll Plaza at Mawa end after unveiling the name plaque of the structure.
The premier said the countrymen also needed to know about the “insult and intimidation we had to suffer for the bridge as the conspirators tried to belittle us” nationally and in the international arena.
“Some citizens of our country who have no patriotism and obligation to the people were involved with that conspiracy,” she said adding her government had to overcome many obstacles and tolerate slanders which even affected her family members’ reputation.
But, the premier said, all those allegations were finally proved false in a case with a Canadian federal court.
Sheikh Hasina unveiled the name plaque of the bridge coinciding with the completion 60 percent work of the Padma Bridge and opening the construction work of the ‘Padma Bridge Rail Link Construction Project’ and 1300 meter permanent river bank protection work in Mawa-Kandipara-Jasholdia area.
Bangladesh has lost two years from the implementation period of the Padma Bridge project for Dilly-dallying of the World Bank and many people including some of our countrymen came to believe that Bangladesh will not be able to implement the project without World Bank financing, the prime minister said.
“Only Malaysian former prime minister assured of giving help, sending his advisor to make a profile of the project,” she said.
“But as my father, I have profound faith in strength of the people of Bangladesh and I firmly believe that they are my great helper. Being inspired by the people and being confident on their strength, we had undertaken the mega project,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina expressed gratitude to the people of the country as they extended their support to her decision and gave courage to construct the project with own fund.
“I have nothing to gain from politics as I only do politics to bring smile on Bangladesh people’s face,” she added.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader presided over the function, while Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed and Railways Minister Md Mazibul Hoque spoke on the occasion.
Terming the Padma Bridge as a “Bridge of Pride”, the prime minister said the bridge is being constructed with most modern technologies and materials. Motor vehicles will ply on its upper deck and train will run on the lower deck,” she said.
With the completion of the bridge, she said, 19 southern districts will be directly connected with Dhaka on road and rail routes and their living standard will be improved with expanding trade and commerce.
National economy will witness 1.2 percent GDP growth rate, while 0.84 percent poverty will be reduced in every year after completion of the bridge to be built at an estimated cost of Taka 30,193.39 crore, she added.
Sheikh Hasina said the implementation work of the bridge is going on satisfactorily and its overall progress is 60 percent and physical progress of the main bridge is 70 percent.
With the setting up the fifth span, she said, 750 meter of the main structure of the 6.15-kilometre bridge has become visible.
Describing the managing of volatile Padma as the toughest challenge, the prime minister said 45 percent of the permanent protection work of the river training has been completed.
The premier hoped that Chinese efficient and experienced contractor China Railway Group Ltd will complete ‘Padma Bridge Rail Link Construction Project’ within stipulated time by maintaining the quality.
She said the Engineering Corps of Bangladesh Army, the symbol of confidence of the country, and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) are performing responsibilities as its consultants.
“I hope that train will run along with other vehicles from the day the bridge will be opened,” she said.
The prime minister also said the expressway construction project was approved by the ECNEC on May 3 in 2016.
The four-lane 55-km expressway of Dhaka (Jatrabari)-Mawa and Pachchar- Bhanga has been being built as per modern traffic design and Tk 6,852.29 crore were spent for implementing the scheme.
The expressway will have 5.5 meter width separate lane on both sides for slow moving vehicles and a five-meter width median in the middle of the highway. Arrangement will be there for construction of metro rail and elevated expressway by using this median, she said.
Under the highway project, 54 culverts, 20 underpasses, four big bridges, 25 small bridges, five flyovers, two interchanges and four railway overpasses are being constructed.-BSS