Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called the Padma Bridge a “symbol of pride, honour and ability” of Bangladesh as the much-hyped bridge now stands on a mighty river confronting all the conspiracies.
“Padma Bridge now stands on mighty river ignoring many obstacles and breaking the web of conspiracy, today the much-desired bridge stands on the chest of turbulent Padma River,” she said in a gathering of dignitaries marking the grand opening of the Padma Bridge.
Mentioning that the bridge is not just a brick-cement-steel-iron made concrete infrastructure, the prime minister said, “This bridge is a symbol of our pride, our honour and ability.”
“Today, I am happy, proud and overwhelmed along with millions of people of the country,” she added.
The bridge belongs to the people of Bangladesh and it involves our passion, creativity, courage, endurance and perseverance of all, she said.
“Because you (countrymen) are by my side, I have to make this impossible possible. And my father, the Father of the Bangalee nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and my mother Begum Fazilatun Nessa have given me courage and blessings from heaven,” she said
The prime minister said the construction of the bridge has been delayed due to the conspiracy, adding, “But we were not disheartened.”
On this historic day of the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, she said, “Let us take a fresh vow to work for the welfare of the country and the people of the country.”
At last, she said that the people of Bangladesh saw the light breaking the darkness.
“Red, blue, green and golden lights are shining in the chest of the Padma,” she continued.
The country, which was liberated by my father, can not be deprived anymore, she said.
The premier hoped that the people who opposed the construction of the Padma Bridge would be more responsible.
“My family members, younger sister Sheikh Rehana and her son Radwan Mujib Siddiq, my son Sajeeb Wazed Joy and daughter Saima Wazed Putul, and some of my colleagues, including my Economic Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman,
former Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain and Communications Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, suffered extreme mental agonies because of the conspiracies orchestrated by certain quarters at the planning stage of the construction of this bridge,” she said.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam delivered the welcome address at the function with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader in the chair.
At the outset of the function, the theme song was played while a documentary on Padma Multipurpose Bridge was screened.
The prime minister called the 41 spans of the bridge the reflection of daring Bangladesh, quoting Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as saying, “None could keep Bangalees suppressed”.
“And finally, we have become victorious,” she said.
In the language of the poet of youth and the poet of rebellion Sukanta Bhattacharya, she said: “Bravo, Bangladesh, this world looks surprised: Burnt to get ashes, yet not to bow the head.”
The Bangalee nation never bows its head and the Father of the Nation did not bow his head as he did not teach us to bow our head, Sheikh Hasina said.
“Standing on the gallows, he (Bangabandhu) sang the triumph of life,” she continued.
Under his leadership, Bangladesh has snatched the red sun of independence through 23 years of political struggle and nine months of the liberation war, she said.
Following his footsteps, Bangladesh today stands with its head high in the comity of the action, she added.
“On this day of joy, there is no hatred, no animosity towards anyone. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the people of the country,” the prime minister said.
She also said, “Having lost my parents and relatives, I came into politics hoping to do something for the people of this country”.
She said she has been working to establish a happy and prosperous golden Bangladesh as dreamt of by the Father of the Nation.
“Today, I will just pray that good sense will prevail upon the conspirators. They should not play with the fate of the common people,” she said.
She further said that today Bangladesh has qualified to become a developing country from the least developed one.
By 2030-31, Bangladesh will emerge on the world map as a high-middle income country with SDG implementation and by 2041 as a developed and prosperous country, InshaAllah, she added.
After the launch of the bridge, it will be possible to establish direct communication between the capital Dhaka and 21 districts in the southern part of the country by road and rail, she said.
The premier said that this will end the long-standing sufferings of the people of the region on the one hand, and accelerate the economy on the other hand.
“Their business will expand and their standard of living will be improved. The bridge is expected to contribute 1.23 per cent to GDP growth and reduce poverty per year,” she said.
New economic zones and high-tech parks will be built centring the bridge, she said, adding that as a result, domestic and foreign investment will be attracted and the pace of industrialization of the country will be accelerated.
Sheikh Hasina went on to say that the Padma Bridge is a major link to the Asian Highway.
“So, the role of this bridge in regional trade is immense. Moreover, the tourism industry will also flourish on both sides of the Padma,” she said.