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Bangladesh - Power & Energy - July 1, 2021

Dreams to boost economy around Padma Bridge

Outlook of budget for FY 2021-22

Golam Mostafa Jibon: With the announcement of new budget for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22, the government dreams to boost country’s economy one more step around Padma Bridge as the long cherished demand of people living in the South-Western part of the country over construction of Padma Bridge is going to be fulfilled shortly.
Finance Minister A. H. M Mustafa Kamal said, “This year’s budget has kept much more attractions in infrastructural development activities. If the fund is utilized properly, country’s people will see more infrastructural development like Padma Bridge in future. But, curbing corona pandemic has now become a big challenge for the government as many people are not showing interest to comply with health safety guidelines.”
“However, the government has taken a master plan to make the country’s trade and commerce speedier around the under construction Padma Bridge despite the corona pandemic. Meanwhile, emphasis has given on different infrastructure development activities on which country’s economy get more motivated,” he added.
Among several plans, priority has been given on construction of Bay Terminal and Patenga Container Terminal to enhance the capacity of Chattogram Sea Port.
The Prime Minister’s Office has also given priority to the construction of International Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Dhirashram to increase the transport of rail containers.
Apart from this, concerted steps are being taken for the development of land ports of the country including Benapole and Bhomra to take advantage of the regional trade that will develop between Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Government official sources said, country’s main gateway for import and export trade will be connected to Chattogram and Mongla Sea Ports as well as Benapole and Bhomra Land Port after opening of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.
In particular, the bridge will play a vital role in regional connectivity as it is being considered as a gateway not only for domestic trade but also for regional trade.
Insider said, if the Padma Bridge is launched, the goods imported from Chattogram Port will be able to pass through Dhaka City and create an opportunity for fast transportation in the south-western part of the country. Goods can be transported to Dhaka from Mongla Port in a short time. As a result, traders will be encouraged to use the port and the pressure on Chattogram Sea Port will be reduced largely. Besides, direct road and rail communication between Benapole and Padma Bridge will boost Bangladesh’s trade with India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Hafizur Rahman, Additional Secretary of Commerce Ministry said, the Padma Bridge would have a landmark impact on regional trade. In addition, it will set a direct link between the capital city Dhaka and South-Western part of the country. Country’s export and import trade will see a new horizon after opening the bridge for movement that will set an approach between the country’s sea and land ports.
Consequently, an integrated initiative is being taken to speed up the activities of other infrastructures especially Sea and Land Ports, centering the Padma Bridge, sources said.
Experts said, this year budget will help to implement several development plans of the government taken around the Padma Bridge. It will help to make the country’s economical wheel more active. After inauguration of the Padma Bridge, the importance of Benapole Land Port will be increased. With the aim, the government is going to take separate projects for the development of Benapole Land Port in which various goods are imported directly from India to Bangladesh through the port. With the opening of the Padma bridge, the trade connectivity will boost further.
An ICD like Kamalapur ICD for keeping railway containers will be set up at Benapole Port. Besides, more necessary infrastructures like truck stand, open yard, godown and laboratory will be installed at Benapole Port.
Alongside, the importance of Benapole and Bhomra Land Ports will be increased after the inauguration of the Padma Bridge.
Facilities will be increased to carry passengers and goods through Benapole Land Port. Infrastructures will also be extended at Mongla Port to create cold storage facility.
Sources said, it will take less time to carry goods from India through Benapole after completion of Padma Bridge construction.
Similarly, goods can be transported from Dhaka quickly. The movement of goods will also speed up the activities of the border land ports of the two countries. Consequently, the existing infrastructure facilities at Benapole and Bhomra Land Ports need to be further improved.
Although, the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges is involved in the implementation of the Padma Bridge project, many other government ministries and subordinate agencies are also involved in expanding trade and commerce in Bangladesh around the bridge.
Therefore, the government has given highly emphasis on an integrated master plan in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Railways and agencies under these ministries including Bangladesh Bank, NBR, BIDA and Land Port Authority.

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