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Bangladesh - April 5, 2023

Bangladesh must progress:PM

Padma Bridge loan repayment installments

Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said Bangladesh would march ahead facing any hurdle with people’s support as she received two repayment installments of the Padma Bridge loan.
“I believe we can step forward confronting any hurdle if the people stand beside us. Construction of the Padma Bridge with own finance is the best example of it,” she said.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader handed over a cheque of around Tk 316.91 crore to the premier as the first and second installments of repaying loan taken for building Padma Bridge at a function at her official Ganabhaban residence.
The prime minister said her government has built the Padma Bridge with own finances taking it as a challenge as the World Bank suspended loan to construct it followed by some other organisations.
The Padma Bridge loan was taken from Bangladesh Bank at a low interest rate as per an agreement signed between the Finance Division and the Bangladesh Bridge Authority.
On June 25, 2022, the prime minister opened the country’s largest bridge – 6.15-km Padma Bridge- over the mighty Padma River.
Sheikh Hasina thanked the people for supporting her government wholeheartedly in constructing the Padma Bridge with own finance.
The prime minister hoped that the entire nation would join hands with the government to continue the country’s advancement like they did in constructing the Padma Bridge.
“If the people stay beside us we can take the country towards prosperity overcoming any obstacle such as disaster,” she said.
The prime minister said her main strength is the power of people.
“I thanked the countrymen to make impossible possible (by transforming Bangladesh into a developing country) with giving unwavering support to us,” she said.
The prime minister heavily criticised those who think Bangladesh cannot prosper without help of others.
“But, we have proved the capability of Bangladesh by constructing the Padma Bridge with own finance and achieved global dignity and honour,” she said.
She also said that the Padma Bridge is not just a bridge but a symbol of pride and capability of the Bangalee nation.
To construct the Padma Bridge, she said Bangladesh had to overcome many national and international hurdles.
“We can now repay the loan taken for the Padma Bridge construction from its toll,” she said.
The Padma Bridge is expected to last more than 100 years, but its construction cost will be recovered in the next 35 years.
Bangabazar Fire:
Sheikh Hasina also promised to provide best support to the traders who incurred huge losses in the devastating Bangabazar fire in the capital city.
“It can’t be tolerated the pain and cry of traders during Ramadan. I have already said we will help as we can. We will assess the losses of the traders,” she said.
She also sounded a note of warning that the people involved in damaging fire fighting vehicles would definitely be brought to the book.
“I have asked to identify those who damaged firefighting vehicles after entering the fire brigade headquarters with sticks. Measures will be taken against them,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said a group of people with sticks attacked the fire office in the afternoon despite the fire fighters reached the place of occurrence immediately after starting of inferno.
Along with the fire fighters, she said army, navy, air force, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Ansar and police personnel as well as volunteers also joined the activity of dousing the Bangabazar fire.
She further said they would take tougher action against those who will be found attacking fire fighting vehicles or firemen or any service providing organisations in future.
“No such attack will be tolerated in future,” she assured.
The prime minister said Bangladesh has gained a great achievement with conducting test run of a train on the Padma Bridge yesterday.
But with this good news, she said the nation had also got a bad news that was the fire in Bangamarket.
“It is very regretful to see burning down shops (in huge numbers) in Bangamarket fire,” she said.
The premier said the Bangamarket had earlier witnessed fire incidents in 1995 and 2018.
After the fire incident in 2018, she said her government had taken a measure to build the Bangamarket in a planned way.
But, they could not do so as the High Court stayed the process of constructing the market following a writ petition against it, she said.
“The Bangamarket might not witness such fire, had the market been built,” she said.
PM’s Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah conducted the programme while former Cabinet Secretary and Bridge Division Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam spoke on the occasion.
Governor of Bangladesh Bank Abdur Rouf Talukder, Finance Senior Secretary Fatima Yasmin, and Bridge Division Secretary Md. Monjur Hossain were also present.

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