Bangladesh today witnessed its dream coming true as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened its longest bridge, overcoming three pronged challenges – financial, engineering and political.
Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the bridge on one of world’s mightiest rivers connecting southwestern Bangladesh with the capital and other parts while both the streams are considered powerful in terms of their length, water discharge and morphological trends.
The premier unveiled the plaque of the Padma Bridge this morning at Mawa end at a colorful ceremony where thousands of distinguish guests including foreign diplomats were present.
The event came 25 years after she opened the Bangabandhu Bridge on the Jamuna River, another most powerful stream, linking northwest with Dhaka and other parts of the country in 1998, until when that was Bangladesh’s longest multipurpose bridge.
But the Padma Bridge carries extra significance as the structure was built entirely with domestic financing, defying speculations by many financial analysts if Bangladesh could mobilize the fund depending on domestic resources.
The Padma Bridge project witnessed several engineering wonders as well as technological challenges but eventually emerged as a wonder structure for Bangladesh that saw use of state-art machineries and know how.
On political considerations, the project also was faced with multi-pronged obstacles amid subtle campaigns to force the government to virtually abandon the initiative halting overseas funding for its construction.
Several political and diplomatic analysts even some overseas partners had also speculations that the project would eventually be a failure.
But, at last, the mighty Padma River becomes conquered and people living on both the banks are no more helpless as they have now got the connectivity with both sides.
From Sunday, the people of southwestern region will drive straight to Dhaka by road, leaving the awful nightmare of ferry ghat, as they will now cross the river in just six minutes over the bridge.
The dream bridge which will not only establish the long-awaited direct road and rail communications between Capital city Dhaka and south-western parts of the country, but also opened up the doors of greater connectivity and trade among the Asian countries.
Besides, the bridge will also have significant economic impacts by cutting the travel time as well as other costs to bring prosperity for 21 districts in particular alongside the national in general.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam delivered the welcome address at the function with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader in the chair.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s daughter Saima Wazed Putul, among others, was present.
At the outset of the function, the theme song was also played while a documentary on Padma Multipurpose Bridge was screened.
Earlier, the prime minister arrived in Mawa by helicopter and attended a gathering of dignitaries marking the grand opening of the Padma Bridge.
To mark the historic moment, she also unveiled commemorative postage stamps, souvenir sheets, opening day cover, note of Taka 100 and seals as part of the grand opening of the country’s biggest self-financed mega project which is likely to boost GDP by 1.2 to 2 percent.
Before the opening of the Padma Bridge, she also took photos with the concerned officials involved in construction of the bridge.