The Padma Multipurpose Bridge has started changing the landscape, mostly economic, in the southwest districts and the fate of 40 million people living in the regions, thus bolstering the country’s economy.
“The socio-economic situation of the entire southern regionhas begun to change due to ongoing development by the government,” Barisal City Corporation Mayor Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah said apparently referring to the Padma Bridge.
“Each remote area in Barisal division gets a touch of development now. The residents of the southern region are satisfied now,” he added.
Once open for public, districts those will reap benefit from the Padma Bridge economically are Khulna, Bagerhat, Jessore, Satkhira, Narail, Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, Jhenaidah, Magura, Barisal, Pirojpur, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna and Jhalokati (Barisal), Gopalganj, Faridpur, Madaripur, Shariatpur and Rajbari.
The 6.15-kilomtere bridge is also expected to facilitate the agriculture development in the southern region, known as the storehouse of the country’s food grain. Due to the poor connectivity, farmers do not get fair price while people living in the other parts are also deprived of fresh foods.
It will also flourish the image of country abroad since it will connect the country to the Trans Asian Network.
Almost 90 percent of Padma Bridge work has completed. Taking it into consideration, the government is constructing Payra Seaport where goods are being loaded and unloaded, and power generation starts at a coal-fired thermal power plant under construction in Lalua Union near Payra port covering an area of one thousand acres.
Officials concerned with Payra seaport said, when a port is built, factories rise in its surrounding area creating huge jobs. Thus, the Payra port will be a blessing for the entire southern region.
On the other hand, work on the country's second submarine cable network has been completed in Patuakhali’s Kalapara. Sheikh Hasina Cantonment has also been built in Barisal, ICT Park (Hi-Tech Park), Air Force Radar Center, Bangabandhu Novo Theater and numerous economic zones are being set up centering the Padma Bridge.
Besides, an area called Megher Char of Hijla-Gourbadi union of Hijla Upazila of Barisal has been proposed for the second nuclear power plant of the country. Based on the Padma Bridge, a direct railway line will be operated from Dhaka to Faridpur via Barisal to Patuakhali's Payra Seaport.
Work will be completed in phases. The government have prepared detailed plans from for the construction of the railway line. Most of the southern region upazilas have already been brought under 100 percent electrification.
Through the development in the field of communication, the door of immense potential has started to open in the whole southern region.
Meanwhile, the newly-opened Dhaka-Mawa elevated expressway is attracting crowd daily. Experts opined that the bridge will also open a vast opportunity to the country’s tourism. Kuakata, Barisal, and other areas will be the center of attraction for domestic and foreign tourists in future.
Khulna Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in a recent assessment on the Padma Bridge said the bridge will significantly reduce the travel time and cost of transportation.
Kazi Aminul Haque, president of KCCI told Bangladesh Post that, “The benefits of Padma Bridge, we will enjoy in future, is beyond expression. Economic activities will rise for sure.
“Goods transporting time will reduce. Factories will be built in this region due to a faster connectivity with the ports. It will also increase the export of frozen fish and jute products from Khulna division,” he added.
Research Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue Khondaker Golam Moazzem told Bangladesh Post that, “What percent of development the bridge will contribute to the economy can’t be determined now.
“In addition to constructing the communication connectivity, if the government ensure proper electricity, gas and infrastructural development, economy will rise sharply,” he added.