Bangladesh opens the longest bridge in the country

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday celebrated the opening of the country’s longest eight-year-old bridge in the wake of setbacks over political conflicts and allegations of corruption.

The 6.51-kilometer (4.04-mile) bridge over the Padma River cost $ 3.6 billion. at the bridge.

The bridge, which will open on Sunday, will improve connections to the country’s capital, Dhaka, and reduce the distance between the city and Bangladesh’s second-largest seaport, Monglos, by 100 kilometers (62 miles).

“The bridge belongs to the people of Bangladesh. It includes our passion, creativity, courage, endurance and perseverance, ”Hasina said during a ceremony in Mava, about 31 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Dhaka.

According to a statement by Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming, the bridge is not directly part of China’s lane and road infrastructure initiative, but was built by China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd. .

The China Railway Group said the Padma Bridge would later have a rail network that would connect with other lane and road projects and would be an important link between the China and pan-Asian rail network.

Economists say the Padma bridge will increase Bangladesh’s gross domestic product by a further 1.3% a year, boosting the strong growth forecasts provided by the Asian Development Bank, which put Bangladesh at $ 465 billion. 23.

Officials said the bridge will connect at least 21 districts in the southern and southwestern regions of Bangladesh.

Experts say the construction of the bridge, which involved more than 4,000 engineers, was a major technical challenge. The bridge’s underwater poles reach 122 meters (400 feet), a world record, and a total of 41 poles are needed. In some parts of the river, the water flow ranks second in the world only after the Amazon River.

Following allegations of corruption by the World Bank in connection with corruption involving a Canadian construction firm, the World Bank in 2012 stated in a statement that Padma had found elements of corruption in its bridge plans and decided not to fund the project for $ 1.2 billion.

This decision has led other lending agencies, including the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the Islamic Development Bank, to distance themselves from the project. Hasina then said Bangladesh would build the bridge with local funds.

Allegations of corruption were filed in the High Court of Ontario, Canada, which acquitted three former senior executives of the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin in an international bribery case involving the construction of a bridge in 2017.

Hasina has also ignored bitter criticism from its political opposition, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, during the construction of the bridge.

The opposition has criticized the Hasina government for increasing the budget three times a year and accusing the government of corruption. Hasina denied the allegations.

Godfrey Kemp

"Bacon fanatic. Social media enthusiast. Music practitioner. Internet scholar. Incurable travel advocate. Wannabe web junkie. Coffeeaholic. Alcohol fanatic."

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