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Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina opens Padma Bridge, calls it symbol of country’s pride

Sandeep Dikshit

Dhaka, June 25

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday inaugurated a gigantic bridge over the Padma river, which will reduce travel time not only for the citizens in 21 districts across the river, but also open up vistas of seamless connectivity from India to South East Asia.

“Padma Bridge is not a pile of brick and cement, but a symbol of Bangladesh’s pride, capacity and dignity,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh PM

Revenge to insults

We’ve been able to give a befitting reply to those who tried to obstruct the construction of Padma Bridge. It is a revenge to insults, conspiracy.

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The project went through tumultuous times and allegations of corruption were once made by western countries to unseat her. India at that time had expressed steadfast support to Hasina as it had helped build the bridge by extending a $200 million loan for the rail part of the bridge as well as supplying building material.

Hasina mentioned this conspiracy in a speech after the colourful ceremony that featured helicopters flying over the bridge with the national flag slung under their undercarriages, jet fighters emitting multi-coloured exhaust, while on the ground hundreds of coloured balloons went up in the air. That it was a coming out party for Bangladesh was reflected in the massive publicity that preceded the inauguration.

Her eyes welling up with tears, Hasina said the bridge was a response to all naysayers. “We’ve been able to give a befitting reply to those who tried to obstruct the construction of Padma Bridge. My family was the target of despicable attacks. They were defamed and false information was spread,” she said. The case was later quashed by a Canadian court.

“The Padma Bridge has been completed. Bangladesh’s economy has not collapsed. The country is moving forward at a breakneck pace. We have proved to the world,” she said.

“The Padma Bridge therefore not only proves one’s self-esteem and ability of the Bengalis, but is also a revenge for the insult that was done to the entire nation. The people of Bangladesh are the source of my courage. I salute them,” observed the Bangladesh PM.

Soon after the World Bank and other funding agencies had pulled out of the project, Hasina had resolved to build the road bridge with Bangladesh’s own funds, setting aside a certain sum in each annual budget towards that aim.

Will reduce travel time

The bridge over the Padma river will reduce travel time not only for the citizens in 21 districts across the river, but will also open up vistas of seamless connectivity from India to South East AsiaIndia extends greetings to Bangladesh on the successful completion of the Padma Bridge

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