Govt took Padma Bridge challenge to brighten country’s image: PM

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Dhaka, June 01: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said Bangladesh has constructed the Padma Bridge with own financing as her government had taken this challenge to brighten image of the country.

“We’ve done it by the grace of Allah. InshaAllah, we will inaugurate the Padma Bridge on June 25,” she said while speaking at a meeting of Awami League (AL) Advisory Council. The meeting was held at her official residence Ganabhaban.

Sheikh Hasina said it hurts her heart when any slander is hurled against the country and that is why she had taken the challenge to build the much-cherished Padma Bridge with own funds when World Bank went away from financing the project for alleged corruption.

Mentioning that honesty has a different type of power, she said, “I’ve taken this challenge with that power of honest… And I have got the whole hearted support of the country’s people. For this reason, I have been able to construct the Padma Bridge.”

The Prime Minister said that a Canadian court declared all the allegations regarding this project false and baseless.

In this connection, she mentioned that Dr Muahmmad Yunus, just for a post of Managing Director of Grameen Bank, carried out the conspiracy.

“He (Yunus) illegally stayed in the post of Managing Director of Grameen Bank at the age of 71. He lodged a case regarding the matter and lost,” she added.

She further said that World Bank cancelled the funding to the project on his (Dr Yunus) request, and later the Awami League government constructed the Bridge with the country’s own resources that has brightened the image of the country.

Sheikh Hasina expressed satisfaction as her party, the ruling Awami League, has been able to fulfill its election pledges to the people.

Awami League never forgets its election pledge after forming the government, said the party chief.

She added, “Every time, while preparing the budget, we evaluate how much progress we have made to implement the election pledges.”

While preparing the budget, she said, the Awami League government considers how to implement the unfinished election pledges.

She said that her government is pulling the country ahead using the modern technology through development from the grassroots level.

Recalling the horrible days the people faced after the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975 , the premier said the power was not in the hands of the mass people.

“The power was in the hands of the military dictators who had captured the state power illegally wearing uniform and as a result the development of the country was hampered while they thrived with their own development,” she added.

She said that during the military regime some 19/20 military coups were staged while there were session jams in the educational institutions amid jingles of arms.

The Prime Minister said her government has done the development of the country up to the rural level with 90 percent own sources.

She said, by self-financing the construction of Padma Bridge, Bangladesh has proved it is no longer dependent on foreign funding. “Bangladesh has changed a lot,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said after assuming office, the Awami League government has been able to bring discipline in every sphere of life which was destroyed by the military regimes.

“We don’t believe in the trickle down development, we always believes in the socioeconomic development from the grassroots level,” she added.

She mentioned that her government has been able to reduce the poverty level below 20 per cent from 40 percent and hoped that in the upcoming census report the rate will decline further.

“Coronavirus has slowed down our economic growth. The growth has reduced to 3.5 percent from 8 cent due to the pandemic. That was only for three months. Later we regained our momentum and now we have almost 7 percent growth,” she said.

She also mentioned that Bangladesh has attained the status of a developing country.

The Prime Minister said the government is taking preparations to face the challenges that may arise because of the country’s graduation to a developing nation by 2026. “This will not be a tough job for us. Our export is increasing and the remittance inflow is increasing too,” she said.

She added that the government has formulated Delta Plan 2100 for sustainable development of the country overcoming the climate change effects.

Sheikh Hasina put emphasis on strengthening the party to better serve the people and to this end she sought advice from the AL Advisory Council. She said the next council of Awami League will be held within December this year.

The premier revealed that the government is thinking of providing Covid-19 vaccine to under-12 population with approval from the WHO. “We have taken every step to protect people’s lives,” she said.