Padma Bridge: A gateway to decentralisation

Published : 20 Oct 2019 06:27 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 04:56 PM

The under-construction Padma Bridge is one of the most highly anticipated projects to be ever taken up by the government of Bangladesh. It represents a burning hope for a new Bangla

desh which our forefathers only  dreamt of. 

The bridge will link the southwestern region of the country to northern and eastern regions. It is expected that by 2030 the development project will initiate an economy worth 155 billion dollars and help job creation in different regions in the country. 

It encompasses infrastructure development spanning the whole region: Mongla airport, Faridpur, Jessore, Magura, Jhenaidah, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Rajshahi, Chapai­nawabganj, Meherpur, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Barisal, Patuakhali and Khulna. A new era of economic activities will be started in the region thanks to the bridge. Regional development will be greatly boosted as more goods and services can be transported to and from all corners of the country.

It will encourage small and medium enterprises, and will affect the micro and macro economy. The project will also attract foreign and domestic investors. Simply put, a new industrial belt will be created in this region. 

The economy southwestern region will see a massive boom, in each and every sector, from education, healthcare to farming and livestock industries. In the real sense, Bangladesh will become a part of the thriving global village. 

Global transportation and communication will be aided through this project. The bridge will make a new pathway for trade and communication with South-east Asia and Europe. Moreover, China’s Belt and Road Initiative will be benefitted. 

The development of economy in the 

south-western region, as well as the 

scope of job creation will open a 

gateway to decentralization 

of the country’s economy

The mega project will facilitate Bangladesh’s contribution to world trade. With the massive overhaul of infrastructure that the project offers, another Padma Bridge would be inevitable. 

On the other hand, the four-lane highway connecting the Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover with the Dhaka-Mawa Highway is nearly complete. It is being constructed as a part of the construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge.  

The completion of the project will usher in a new era for connectivity in the country’s south and southwestern regions. The highway will be crucial in preventing traffic congestion on long journeys. 

Moreover, as it is a part of the Padma Bridge it will reduce the load on the bridge. Most importantly, the highway will make it easy for vehicles to turn around if they make a wrong turn. The risk of road accidents will be reduced considerably as there will be two lanes for traffic on each direction. 

The Dhaka-Mawa highway is only the first of a series of highways which is being upgraded to have four-lanes. Three other important highways in the country will also be upgraded soon, Dhaka-Sylhet, Rangpur-Banglabandha, Rangpur-Burimari and Barishal-Faridpur highways in part from funding from the government and in part funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). 

If these projects are completed, the country’s transportation and communication will be much more efficient. Time and resources which are currently wasted in difficult transportation will be saved, and productivity will also be positively impacted. 

Traffic congestion on the highways will be reduced, which will in turn improve mobility of people in the remotest regions of Bangladesh.

Particularly of importance is the impact Padma bridge will have on regional economy. The development of economy in the south-western region, as well as the scope of job creation will open a gateway to decentralization of the 

country’s economy. 

It is high time that such a project is taken up as majority areas of the country are yet to be developed sustainably. The overpopulation in the capital is exacerbated by this very fact as more and more people are coming to Dhaka in search of better employment opportunities. We have already reached over-capacity and yet migration of the poor from rural areas is showing no signs of slowing down.  Traffic congestion, severe air and water pollution and lack of housing are just the tip of the iceberg in the unplanned city of Dhaka.  Decentralization should therefore be made into a top priority for the government moving forward. 

The initiative is the stepping stone on the road to decentralization. Bringing in investments in rural areas as well as small towns will eventually lead to improvement of infrastructure in those areas. More roads, improvement in connectivity and more medical facilities will follow. As a result rural economy will flourish. There will no longer be the need for mass migration of people from rural areas to the already densely populated areas. 

Improvement of village economy will cause employment rates to increase substantially.  Creating more opportunities in regional and district level will also increase the country’s GDP. Better infrastructure will also usher in even more investment as well as a massive boom in the tourism sector as well. 

For many years now, Dhaka is among the top most unlivable cities in the world. The situation is unlikely to improve unless decentralization is taken up seriously by the government. One can only hope that this ongoing effort on the government’s part brings about the long-awaited changes across the country. 

Padma bridge is exactly what is needed to make decentralization a reality. With the completion of the bridge within the stipulated time, the citizens of the country move forward with renewed hope for 

the future. 

Synthia Kainath Nur

is working with

Bangladesh Post