Bangabandhu started rebuilding Bangladesh facing numerous challenges

DHAKA, Aug 25, 2018 (BSS) – Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman started rebuilding the war-ravaged Bangladesh immediately
after his return home from the Pakistan’s jail and successfully overcame the
challenges that were deep-rooted into both economic and non-economic sectors
of the newly independent country.

According to some major publications and newspaper reports on Bangabandhu,
the major challenges in the economic front were the need for mobilizing
adequate internal and external resources, rebuilding infrastructures,
rehabilitating thousands of people who lost everything in the war; and
reviving the financial, industrial and business organisations.

Ensuring security, good governance and establishing effective diplomatic
relations with countries across the world were among other challenges in the
non-economic sector.

The economic challenges in Bangladesh turned worse as the Pakistani
occupation force with its beastly intension deliberately destroyed the
country’s infrastructures at the fag-end of the War of Liberation, so
Bangladesh cannot stand erect for its economic emancipation after the

The Ministry of Information in a souvenir published on the first Victory
Day in 1972 recorded that more than 300 rail-bridges and 300 road-bridges
were destroyed during the war. The entry to the Chittagong Port was shut by
destroying and abandoning wreckages of 29 ships.

The channel of the country’s prime port was also made unusable with
planting mines by the fleeing Pakistani army. They also burned down the cash
and gold reserve in the central bank before surrender while industrialists of
West Pakistan siphoned off nearly Taka 800 crore from this country to make
the new born nation penny less.

The souvenir also noted that the cumulative financial loss to the nation
caused by the destructive activities of the Pakistani occupation force was
over Taka 1200 crore, including the loss of Taka 376 crore in the agriculture
sector alone.

Amid this weak state of economy, some newly formed groups were trying to
destabilize the political situation and creating social disorder to fulfill
their ill motives. Bangabandhu, however, warned them in his strong voice, and
at the same time started rebuilding the nation by taking up lots of
development programmes and policy initiatives.

The Bangladesh Observer on January 15, 1975 in a front page report said
that Bangabandhu outlined his plan for a new economy, prioritizing relief and
rehabilitation. The Dainik Bangla on January 26, 1975 reported that
Bangabandhu announced a special allocation of Taka 30 crore for the homeless

A plan was also taken up in June 1972 to construct 1.66 lakh houses for the
freedom fighters and the women, children and others who lost everything
during the war.

In the same year, his government announced the first national budget of
over Taka 500 crore, allocating the highest amount for the agriculture sector
followed by education and social welfare.

Lifting duty on fertilizer and baby food and slashing tax on cotton yarn
and water pump were also two major steps in the budget which was titled as
the budget for reconstruction. No tax on fertilizer and baby food supported
farmers and ensured supply of healthy food for children. Lower tax on cotton
yarn was also for keeping prices of clothes within the reach of common

In line with the budget, the country’s first fifth five year plan with
Taka 4,455 crore was also announced in the following year at the special
initiative of Bangabandhu.

Besides this fiscal measure, the government under the leadership of
Bangabandhu started reconstructing some big bridges, power stations and
telephone exchanges for restoring communication and power supply which were
critical to revitalizing the country’s economy.

In the next few years Hardinge Bridge, Tista Railway Bridge and Bhairab
Railway Bridge were reconstructed and reopened to the traffic. Chittagong
Port was also made useable by removing mines and ship wreckages from the port
entry. The process for building a bridge on the river Jamuna was also
initiated by Bangabandhu.

For the industrial sector, Bangabandhu announced a long-term credit
facility, short-term loan for working capital and equity support for capital
investment. He established the Atomic Energy Commission, Bangladesh Council
of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangstha
and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARI). These institutions are
now contributing a lot to the development of the country.

Establishing effective diplomatic relations with other countries was also
another step that Bangabandhu initiated without any delay after forming his
government. Due to his prompt steps, a proposal was tabled in the United
Nations for providing Bangladesh Taka 411 crore for rebuilding the country.
India also came up with rehabilitation assistance and relief with $250

The UN relief operation team in a report in 1972 mentioned that Bangladesh
has been established as a disciplined country within a year of the War of
Liberation thanks to various initiatives of the democratically run

The US embassy in a special report for the US government also wrote that
the Prime Minister (Bangabandhu) of Bangladesh had brought everything under
his control. The way he organised his administration that none could think
that Bangladesh was non-existent only a year ago, the report noted.