Padma Bridge and the immense potential of Bangladesh's economy

Padma Bridge (officially Padma Multipurpose Bridge) was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 25, 2022 and traffic on the bridge started on the next day, June 26, 2022. How this Padma Bridge can contribute to the economy of Bangladesh is being widely discussed in the country and outside the country. This article also briefly discusses Padma Bridge and its importance and potential for the economy of Bangladesh.

Information on Padma Bridge: Foundation Stone Laying to Inauguration

A lot of emotion, anxiety, excitement, enthusiasm is associated with the name Padma Bridge. Padma Bridge is called the Padma Bridge of dreams and indeed it is a reality that was the dream of South Bengal and the whole of Bengal. Through the implementation of the Padma Bridge, the dream of the southwest region has opened.

The bridge is a dream come true, located 40 kilometers southwest of the capital Dhaka. It has Mawa, Lauhjong, Munshiganj on its northern edge and Jajira, Shariatpur, Shibchar and Madaripur on its southern edge. The Padma Bridge project is named ‘Padma Bahumukhi Bridge Project’ and the main contractor of the bridge was the company ‘China Major Bridge Company Limited’ and a team consisting of international and national consultants led by the American multinational engineering firm AECOM (AECOM) was in charge of the design. In 1998-99, during the reign of the then ruling Awami League government, the first pre-feasibility check of the construction of the bridge was carried out and the first foundation stone of the Padma Bridge was laid at the Mawa end on 4 July 2001 by the then and current head of government, Sheikh Hasina. The bridge is 6.15 km long and 72 feet wide and has 3. 18 km viaduct with 81 pillars. And the total manpower required for the bridge is about 4 thousand.

The span number is 41 in the total of 42 pillars of Padma Bridge and the entire bridge is visible on December 10, 2020 after span installation on pillars 12 and 13 of the last bridge. And with the inauguration on June 25, the dream of crores of people was fulfilled and Bangladesh moved forward one more step. The identity of Bangladesh is now one of honor, glory, success and capability to the world. There is no doubt that the Padma Bridge will facilitate economic progress as well as facilitate communication.

Why is Padma Bridge not like or comparable to other bridges?

River management of the Padma Bridge was the biggest challenge as the Padma is the world’s second driest river after the Amazon. The river has to be controlled for 14 km which has been done by China’s Sinohydro Corporation Limited.

How many districts and upazilas are connected by Padma Bridge?

This dream bridge connects 21 districts and 133 upazilas of the southwestern region of the country directly with the capital Dhaka, which will benefit the entire country including the connected districts and upazilas. Just as the bridge saves time, it also relieves the suffering of waiting for the ferry. The loss of life from ferry accidents, the death of many patients and the loss of loved ones due to not getting the ferry on time will no longer be painful.

Economic potential of Bangladesh through Padma Bridge

Padma Bridge will open new doors of economy. Tourism, industrialization, increase in agricultural production, modernization of agriculture, getting fair price of agricultural produce, reduction of unemployment, poverty alleviation will play a big role in solving the problem. This bridge will contribute 1.23 percent to the country’s GDP growth. And the GDP of the south-western region will increase by 2.3 percent. Railway connection, gas line, optical fiber line on Padma Bridge which will improve the communication system of the southern region, advance South Bengal in technological innovation. And this progress is the progress of the country, the progress of the socio-economic system of the country. As a result of the Padma Bridge, tourism will be created in the surrounding districts including Shariatpur across the Padma. Sundarbans, Kuakata beaches will see an increase in the number of visitors. Many foreign tourists will come. The government has plans to build an airport on the island side across the Padma and in this case many foreign tourists will be able to visit the Sundarbans and Sagarkanya Kuakata beach besides visiting the Padma Bridge. They will be able to land at the airport and from there they will be able to visit the sights of the southern region of the country which will increase the income from the tourism sector and expand the GDP. The pressure of industrial factories from the capital Dhaka will be reduced and many new jobs will be created which will help in solving the unemployment problem of the country. 

Importance of Padma Bridge in communication system

Railway connection, gas line, optical fiber line on Padma Bridge which will improve the communication system of the southern region, advance South Bengal in technological innovation. Import and export of goods from Benapole land port, Mongla port, Payra port, Bhola river port will be easy and it will be possible to reach the capital Dhaka in a very short time. That is, the importance and busyness of the ports will increase. From the Chittagong port, the goods will be transported quickly to Shariatpur, Madaripur, Faridpur, Gopalganj districts of the southern region, which will speed up the business of the traders and the buyers will get their purchased goods in less time than before.

Importance of Padma Bridge in Southeast Region Economy

Farmers from Satkhira, the top shrimp farming district, can send shrimp to Dhaka very quickly and get better prices than before. Bagerhat Lump, The big market for Bagda shrimp will be the capital Dhaka and various districts where earlier fresh shrimp could not be reached due to river routes and farmers would suffer due to non-availability of fair prices. The southernmost district of the country, Pirojpur, has a floating guava plantation located at Vimruli and the Atghar Kuriana of Swarupkathi here produces a lot of guavas. The eight-house Kuriana Guava Orchard is the largest guava orchard in the Asian continent. Amra of Pirojpur and Jhalkathi district which is known as Amra of Barisal and this amra is available almost all over the country which used to take a lot of time to transport and the quality was not good. But now it can be transported in less time and increase in demand will help the farmers to profit. Bhola district is called – “Queen Island of Bangladesh” where betel nut is grown in abundance and Barguna district has a good yield of coconut which will also be appreciated by the market. Abundant paddy, iksu, wheat, jute in Faridpur and almonds in Gopalganj, Jute, watermelon are produced which are contributing to the national economy. A touch of modernization in agriculture will increase production to a large extent for which transportation of modern machinery will be facilitated which will be facilitated by the Padma Bridge.

Government’s plan on economic feasibility of Padma Bridge

However, planning is needed to realize the economic potential of the Padma Bridge, and the government and the World Bank have already agreed to a ten-year $1.4 billion program with a duration of 2020-30. As a result of Padma Bridge, investment will increase and if 12 percent return comes from any investment, it is called an ideal investment, whereas the possibility of 19 percent annual return has been estimated from the investments that will be made as a result of Padma Bridge.

How Padma Bridge will play a role in the economy

To know the economic status of a country, it is necessary to know the growth rate of the country’s total national production, total national income, and GDP, and if they increase, it will be understood that the country’s economy is progressing to the right, but it is important to control inflation. Increase in national income from inflation control, increase in GDP growth rate and increase in employment will contribute to reduction of unemployment problem and improvement of standard of living. As a result of the Padma Bridge, all these will increase, which will change the overall economic situation of the country along with changing the lives of the people of the country. 

The people of the southern region of the country will realize in real life how important the Padma Bridge is. The sense of appreciation will be awakened first of all from saving time and I myself as a person of Pirojpur district in the southern part of Bangladesh can realize the importance of the bridge. I still remember once it took 17 hours to reach Dhaka from my district Pirojpur during one Eid season. Let Padma Bridge be one of the examples of changing the life and livelihood of the people of the country, improving the standard of living, and overall economic welfare of the country. Let the wheel of destiny of the people of the country move forward, let my country move forward.

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