Padma Bridge : Economic and Social Transformation of the Southwest Area
I think that the people of the southern region will have no more trouble. Their financial condition will improve. They will be able to lead a more improved life for the development of their socioeconomic condition-Sheikh Hasina.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the much-awaited mega infrastructure Padma bridge on June 25 last month. The two- decades journey of the dream finally came true. It’s a milestone for the country’s connectivity, particularly those from the southern districts. We faced many adversities at home and abroad but finally the Padma bridge was fully constructed against all odds.
The Padma Bridge is a multipurpose road- rail bridge across the Padma River. It interfaces Munshiganj (Mawa point) and Shariatpur (Jajra point), connecting the south- west of the country, to northern and eastern areas. It is without a doubt a memorable moment to observe the realization of a dream completion of the Padma Bridge.
The bridge will change the lives of almost 30 million people living in the country promoting industrial and commercial activities and increasing economic and employment opportunities. It will connect Dhaka to 21 southern districts. At least 30 million people, almost one-fifth of the country’s total population, will directly benefit from the bridge.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PADMA BRIDGE :
In 2009, development partners and lenders began working on the Padma Bridge project. A few days later, partners were signed to provide $ 120 million from the World Bank, $ 615 million from ADB, $ 430 million from Japan, and $ 140 million from IDB. In 2010, spending on the bridge was estimated at $ 2,972 million, or 20,507 cores.
In 2011, the World Bank refused to approve the proposed loan, stating that it had found credible evidence of a corruption plot. This claim was completely wrong. As a result Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rejected the loan of the World Bank on January 31, 2013, and announced that the Padma Bridge would be built with own funds.
It was certainly a historic decision. The construction of the Padma Bridge began in 2015. The first span of the Padma Bridge was laid in 2016. On December 10, 2020, the full length of our dream Padma Bridge became visible.
THE PADMA BRIDGE AT A GLANCE :
- Project Name: Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project
- Directly Connected Districts: 3, Munshiganj, Madaripur and Shariatpur.
- Connected Point: Mawa, Lauhajong, Munshiganj to Zajira, Shariatpur.
- Construction Start: 12 December 2015
- Type: Double- Deck
- Construction Cost : BDT 30193.88 Milion or, USD 3.868 Billion (Including VAT and IT)
- Construction Company : Chaina Railway Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited
- Length: 6.15 km
- Width: 18.10m (59.38 ft)
- Viaduct: 3.148 km
- Longevity: 100 years
- Earthquake Resistance: Richter scale 9
- Spans: 41
- Pillars/Piers: 42
- Design: AECOM (United States)
- First Span set-up: 30 September 2017
- Last (41th) Span set- up: 10 December 2020
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION :
Bangladesh is a developing country and aims to become a developed country by 2041. And by 2026, Bangladesh is expected to be out of the LDC category. Since 2015, Bangladesh has been working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
We know that reliable infrastructure plays an important role in economic growth. Studies show that in many countries there is a positive link between infrastructure and economic performance. The bridge will benefit about 3 million people in the 21 southwestern districts of Bangladesh. This will create employment and income opportunities, improve access to education, health care, investment, foreign and domestic trade, alleviate poverty, improve living standards and eventually better socio-economic status of the people in that region which contribute to nearly two percent of the GDP of our economy.
Urbanization pressures in Dhaka are expected to ease, and multi- lane highways and railroads will connect Dhaka from the Port of Mongla and Payra. The ports of Mongla and Payra will be more operational. It will link Bangladesh with India, Nepal and Bhutan and catalyze nearby change alongside the Asian Highway and Trans- Asian Railway Network. It will not only benefit the South west region but there will also be economic spillovers all over the country.
In Khulna and Barisal districts, there are more people below the poverty line compared to other districts. Farmers especially suffer because there is a lack of access to markets, soil has been adversely affected by salinity, and because of lack of fresh water in the dry seasons.
The bridge is going to bring an unprecedented boost in economic activities including in farming, trade, la bor movement, growth of small and medium industries, tourism, export- oriented manufacturing and so on. Farmers will get better commodity prices. Production will increase. Special Economic Zones (SEZs), industrial parks and ease supply of raw materials may have caused the industrial revolution.
BENEFITS OF THE BRIDGE :
- Direct road link between the capital and the southwest region, Mongla Port.
- Travel time between the capital and the southwest region to be reduced by one- fourth; tourism to get a boost.
- Being part of the proposed Asian Highway and Trans Asian Railway Network, the bridge will facilitate regional connectivity
- % 29 growth in construction sector, %9.5 in agriculture, %8 in manufacturing and transport.
- Poverty to drop by %1 in the region, %0.8 nationally
- GDP to grow by %1.7 in southwest region, %0.56 countrywide
- New employment and business opportunity for local people
- Daily traffic to increase from 4,300 at present to 12,831 in 5 years, to 45,000 in 2040
- %19 economic internal rate of return.
- River training to save 9,000 hectares of land worth 156$ million from erosion and flooding
- Electricity, gas supply lines and optical fibre cables to pass through the bridge, saving 271$ million 400$ 12 million ferry service cost on Mawa- Janjira route to be saved.
The Padma Bridge is expected to generate welfare for the people of Bangladesh and specially for the people of Southwest. Over the past few years, our economic progress, GDP growth, and the gradual improvement of various social indicators have gained international recognition. Bangladesh’s capacity has been recognized due to its own mega projects like the Padma Bridge. Undoubtedly, the construction of this 6.15 kilometer long bridge has boost the confidence of the country. This will allow policymakers to plan | for larger infrastructure. This will also attract foreign investors to invest in infrastructure and in other sectors in Bangladesh.