The Padma Bridge, a symbol of national pride

Describing the Padma Bridge as the symbol of national pride, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday that no one could doubt the quality of the bridge which opens on Saturday.

“We did not compromise on the construction standards of the Padma Bridge. It was built using the latest technologies and materials in the world. The entire construction process was completed in accordance with the highest standards. higher,” she said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at a press conference at his office in the capital.

Quoting the remarks of some critics of the government on the bridge issue, Hasina said, “I hope no one can criticize the quality of the Padma Bridge.

Responding to a question, she said Bangladesh had regained its dignity with the construction of its longest bridge with its own funds in a brave move after the World Bank withdrew from the project.

“I thank them [World Bank]. Because we built the Padma Bridge with our own funds with courage after this incident.”

The prime minister said that Bangladesh will never give in to any pressure, but rather will move forward with the strength of the people.

Hasina said the government has built the bridge by overcoming all conspiracies and obstacles. She thanked the people of the country and expressed her gratitude to them for supporting her government.

Talking about the cost of the bridge, Hasina said that according to the revised DPP, the total allocation is Tk 30,193.39 crore, but the allocation for the main bridge is Tk 12,133.39 crore (including Tk 1,000 crore Tk for the installation of a 400 KV power transmission line and gas pipeline).

She explained the reasons for the increased cost of the project. These include increasing the length of the bridge from 5.8 km to 6.15 km, modifying the design to maintain the span of movement of river vessels under its 37 spans, incorporating steel structures into the instead of concrete ones and improving the depth of piling works.

The increased cost of rehabilitating people who lost land to the project and compensating land acquired are also among other reasons.

The prime minister said his government undertakes each project after proper assessment of feedback. Although the World Bank canceled its funding for the Padma Bridge project, Bangladesh was able to recover funds for other projects, she added.

Reprimanding those who criticized the government for building the bridge with its own funds, Hasina said they lacked self-confidence. “But I am the daughter of Nation Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I say what I can do. Inshallah, I must do what I say.”

Responding to a question about the construction of a second Padma Bridge between Manikganj and Rajbari, the Prime Minister said its necessity should be assessed first.

Regarding the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the conspirators for the cancellation of WB funding for Padma Bridge, she said, “Time will tell what to do.”

On the launch of an investigation against Professor Muhammad Yunus for donating $6 million to a foundation (Clinton Foundation), the Prime Minister said: “You journalists can lead the investigation because you do that kind of work.”

She said if she opened the investigation, reporters would say the investigation was being done out of revenge.

“We have 54 private banks and they have general managers. How many doctors have the financial capacity to donate such an amount of money to a foundation? So it will be better to have the matter investigated by journalists.”

The Prime Minister said she had more information on how much money Professor Yunus has in the banks and how much money he is laundering.

Hasina, also president of the Awami League, said she did not want to stay in power by snatching people’s votes.

She said she is the person who spoke out against military dictators, led movements, embraced prison, repression and faced bomb and grenade attacks. “The development of the country has been possible because I am able to protect democracy and maintain its continuation.”

She urged everyone to see the changes in the country since 2009.

The prime minister said, “Isn’t there one qualified BNP leader in Bangladesh that they can make him the party chairman?”

Regarding the flood situation in the northeast of the country, the Prime Minister said that the government will construct bridges and culverts at all identified points of the roads for flood water drainage to prevent such calamities. in the future.

Noting that the flood affected 11 districts, Hasina said the flood water was channeled smoothly after cutting roads at different points as per his directive.

“I will build bridges or culverts where roads have been cut or damaged so that water does not stagnate there in the future.”

The Prime Minister said the government has taken timely measures to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the floods.

She said she also ordered the authorities to take measures to deal with the post-flood situation, especially to prevent post-flood diseases and boost agricultural production.

Amir Hossain Amu, senior Awami League official, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud and Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus were present, among others.

James V. Hayes