24 Jun 2022, 19:29

Padma Bridge triggers huge economic activities in South

DHAKA, June 24, 2022 (BSS) – Huge economic activities have been going on in the south and southwestern districts as the much-awaited Padma Bridge is set to be inaugurated tomorrow.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open the much-anticipated 6.15 kilometer Padma Bridge for vehicular movement which will bring a massive progress in road connectivity of 21 south and southwestern districts with capital Dhaka and other major cities.
The bridge is expected to create huge economic opportunities as numerous public and private industries are being set up in the vast areas around the bridge.
On the eve of the grand opening of the bridge, politicians, business leaders, economists and civil society members have observed that economic activities in the south and southwestern part have already started and as a result, many industrialists from home and abroad are purchasing lands in several districts, especially in Faridpur, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Bagerhat, Gopalganj, Barisal and Khulna.
The construction of Sheikh Hasina Nakshipalli, apparel factories, cold storages, gas stations and industrial parks are going on in full swing with promises of new jobs for the unemployed. Expanding local business and trade, the bridge is expected to significantly boost the national economy.
Experts opined that the Padma Bridge is going to connect many of the South and Southeast Asian countries and contribute immensely to communication, trade, industry, tourism and many other sectors in various ways.
For taking the advantage properly, they urged the government to outline a “proper strategy” that will be on offer, particularly for the southwestern region.
Expressing his heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem said the dream of the country has come true for the visionary and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“The bridge will contribute to the increase in the country’s GDP growth to double digit,” said Shameem, also a lawmaker from Shariatpur.
Expert Opinion
The experts observed that the double-deck Padma Bridge, with road and rail tracks, is expected to contribute around 1.3 to 2 percent to the annual GDP growth, reduce poverty and increase economic activities of the people of the neglected southwestern region.
Terming the construction of Padma Bride as a “tremendous achievement” for Bangladesh, eminent economist and former Bangladesh Bank governor Mohammad Farashuddin said the bridge has started to play a great role in employment generation, alleviation of poverty and industrialization in the southwestern region as well as the entire country.
“Tomorrow is the great moment for Bangladesh. We are going to open a new era on the way of the country’s development,” he added.  
Eminent economist and former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman said the economic benefits will flow not only in the southern part but also throughout the country due to multiple effects.
Estimated national GDP may lift by 2 percent (some say 1.26 percent) and the regional GDP may rise by 3.5 percent, he added.
He mentioned that the economic Rate of Return of the project will be 18-21 percent and the entire cost of the project may be realized by 31 years or even earlier.
Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Mustafizur Rahman said that the Padma Bridge is the symbol of national desire while this bridge should not be used only for transportation of goods and passenger vehicles, but also as an economic corridor.
Mentioning that there was a plan to set up some 17 economic zones centering the Padma Bridge, he said those should have to be established and eventually those would contribute to national economy and creation of employments.
The noted economist said the great impact of the bridge will be employment generation and poverty reduction of the 21 districts, especially ultra-poor in the region, including Barguna and Pirojpur, he added.
He urged the government to properly ensure other facilities, including electricity and gas, for encouraging local and foreign investors to set up industries in that region.
Mustafizur laid emphasis on taking a “coordinated plan” to speed up the development activities of the region by protecting environment.
“We’ve to take a proper plan for reaping benefits at the earliest possible time … the government with private partnership should give emphasis to agro-based industries in the southwestern districts” he added.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman said the Padma Multipurpose Bridge will bring power for industrialization at the doorsteps of the common people and thus support industries of various scales and dimensions to flourish in the region.
“Significant impacts start to take place. Lots of economic activities have already started in the south and southwestern districts based on Padma Bridge,” he added.
He said the Padma Bridge is going to ensure a smooth and permanent or all-weather road link over the mighty Padma River to connect with the largest market (Dhaka city).
Former President of the Brihattar Khulna Unnayan Sangram Committee Sheikh Mosharraf Hossain informed that the demand of the land in their area is increasing rapidly as many investors from home and abroad are purchasing lands to set up industries there.
“The bridge has started to play a significant role in employment generation in the southwestern districts. Besides, connectivity may be created with India, Nepal and Bhutan through this bridge,” he added.
Mosharraf hoped that the bridge will contribute at least 2 to 2.50 percent to the regional GDP.

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