‘Some people of our country have a perception or mentality that we can’t do anything without money of others. We had the mentality of dependency and narrowness. But now, we came out of dependency to conduct development activities,’ Sheikh Hasina, The Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The Padma, the second mightiest river of the world after Amazon, the largest river by discharge of water of the world is the mounting barrier to establish road connectivity between the capital city and the twenty one districts of southwestern region of the country. But by overcoming myriad barriers and shortcomings and by making all the impossible possible, the government of Bangladesh led by the visionary leader Sheikh Hasina, has constructed the Padma Bridge eventually.
- Padma Bridge : Economic and Social Transformation of the Southwest Area
- Padma Bridge : Economic and Social Mutation
The Padma Bridge in Brief
The Padma Bridge is a multipurpose road-rail bridge across the mighty river Padma. The bridge has established road connectivity between Dhaka and twenty one southwestern districts of the country. The bridge has connected Louhajong, Munshiganj to Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the southwest of the country, to northern and eastern regions. Padma Bridge is the most challenging construction project in the history of Bangladesh. It is an engineering wonder as well. It is a two-level steel truss bridge carrying a four lane highway on the upper level and a single track railway on a lower level. The brief information about the bridge is given below:
|Approach Road||12.117 km|
|Cost||30193 crore and 39 lakh|
|Land acquisition||1471 hectors|
|River Training||14 km (1.6 km in Mawa + 12.4 km in Jajira)|
|Carries||Motor vehicles, Railway|
|Maintained by||Bangladesh Bridge Authority|
|Constructed by||China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd.|
|Construction began||10 December 2015|
|Construction ended||June 2022|
|Inaugurated||25 June 2022|
Total cost of the Padma Bridge project is $ 3.86 billion, one of the largest projects of Bangladesh has ever undertaken. The Padma Bridge Project was designed to be funded by donors such as the World Bank, Japan International Agency (JICA), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB). However, the entire amount is financed by the government of Bangladesh after the World Bank and other global lending agencies pulled out of the project following a made up corruption scandal involving a Canadian construction company linked to the bridge.
Agreement for the construction of the Padma Bridge
On 17 June 2014, the government of Bangladesh signed a formal agreement paper with China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd. to construct the long aspired bridge on the turbulent and mighty river Padma. China proposed building the bridge on the build- own- transfer (BOT) basis. Construction of the six kilometer bridge by a Chinese company began in December 2015, with the aim of connecting the country’s southwestern region with the capital, Dhaka, via road and rail.
Impact of the Padma Bridge
The impact of the Padma Bridge includes but not limited to the followings:
i. Direct road communication between capital Dhaka and south western part of the country as well as Mongla Port has been established through Padma Bridge.
ii. Transportation time between the capital and south western part will reduce by one fourth.
iii. As The Padma Bridge is the part of proposed Asian Highway and Trans Asian Railway Network, it will make regional connectivity easier.
iv. As a direct impact of the Padma Bridge, poverty of south western region will decline by 1 percent and national poverty will decrease by 0.8 percent.
v. GDP of the south and the nation will increase by 2.3 percent and 1.23 percent respectively.
vi. For the river training of the Padma Bridge, 9 thousand hectors of land will get saved from drought and flood, and its economic worth is 156 million US dollars.
vii. Ferry service expenditure amounting Tk 400 million will be saved from Mawa Zajira route.
viii. This bridge will greatly reduce river pollution of the Padma River.
Also Read : Sustainable Eco-tourism in Bangladesh
Why the Padma Bridge is our pride and emblem of dignity
The Padma Bridge is our pride, glory and dignity for the following reasons:
i. The ever biggest development project by own finance A grand success paves the ways of success for many others. Successful construction of long felt Padma Bridge on the mighty and turbulent river Padma with own finance has raised the capacity of Bangladesh to a great extent.
ii. Branding Bangladesh in the world stage The construction of the Padma Bridge has made their ideas wrong. Now this bridge will brand Bangladesh as a symbol of dignity and capacity in each and every corner of the world. About 59 diplomats of the world took part in the inauguration of the Padma Bridge and highly praised the attainment of Bangladesh.
iii. Gallantry of not bowing down head before made up allegations and unreasonable conditions of the World Bank and other donor agencies Global donor agencies and development partners impose myriad unreason- able conditions while funding any development project in the developing countries like Bangladesh. Saying ‘No’ to them becomes almost impossible for the poorer nations. But Bangladesh showed audacity and did not bow down the head before the humiliating conditions of the World Bank in case of the construction of the Padma Bridge.
iv. Superseding all south Asian countries in constructing bridge on such a mighty river alone Bangladesh has placed strong position in the highway of development and prosperity faster than all the south Asian countries including India through constructing the Padma Bridge whose piling is 122 meters, the highest in the world. All cannot but acknowledge it in one voice.
The Padma Bridge, a dreamt bridge for the people of the southwestern region of Bangladesh will benefit not only for the people of twenty one poverty stricken districts of Bangladesh but also for the people of entire Bangladesh through quicker connectivity. Besides, the bridge will play very significant role in raising life standard of the people and in creating employment opportunities for thousands of people. As a symbol of dream, pride and self- respect, this bridge will play role as a brand of Bangladesh in the world stage. Now we can say with strong voice that we are no longer a country of bottomless basket. Rather, we are a country of sustainable basket.