Published:  12:00 AM, 18 January 2022

The Padma Bridge and the Economic Prospects of Bangladesh

Mohammad Al-Amin & Rokeya Akter

The Padma Bridge has a remarkable history and "tremendous achievement" for Bangladesh. Padma is one of the vital rivers to influence the country's economy as well as GDP. Padma Bridge is a multi-purpose road and railway bridge under construction on the Padma River. This will connect the southwestern part of the country with the north-eastern part. The steel and concrete truss bridge will feature a four-lane road at the top and a single rail at the bottom.  41 spans of 150 meters have been installed inside the Padma-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basin, 6.15 kilometers in length and 18.10 meters wide are being planned. The Padma bridge will be ready for traffic by April 2022.Due to the World Bank's delay, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina refused the loan and stated that the Padma Bridge will be built using private funding, a daring and historic choice. In 2015, construction on the Padma Bridge began which first span was completed in 2016. By the end of 2020, the entire length of our fantasy Padma Bridge would be visible. The physical specimen of the Padma Bridge can now be seen in full view with the installation of the 41st span on December 10.

The Padma Multipurpose Bridge will have a significant impact not only on the economy of Bangladesh's south-west but also on the economy of the rest of the country that will be crucial in many aspects of South and Southeast Asia, including communication, trade, and tourism. Any country's communication system is critical to its economic prosperity andis seen as an economic growth instrument. Improving the communication infrastructure enables agricultural products, industrial raw materials, and manufactured items to be moved quickly and cheaply. As a result, the country's output, industry, and commerce have all grown. Our economic progress, GDP growth, and gradual improvement in several social indicators have garnered international acclaim in recent years. Bangladesh's capability has been acknowledged as a result of megaprojects such as the Padma Bridge.The bridge's construction will be financially viable. Communication between Dhaka and the 21 southern districts would be cut by 2 to 4 hours. In each of the 21 districts, small and large industries will be established and improved agriculture dramatically. Farmers will benefit from increased commodity prices.

The Padma Bridge has enormous economic relevance. The economy will be vibrant if this bridge is constructed. The impact of the bridge on Bangladesh's economy is shown below: (a) Padma Bridge's Importance in Industry: If the Padma Bridge is built, it will provide a direct link between the country's south-west and north-east. As a result, in this territory, new industries will emerge. Furthermore, this bridge will be centered around Payara's seaport. As a result, new factories will be built for business convenience. (b) Padma Bridge's Importance in Agriculture: the water system framework is critical to the economy of Southwest Bangladesh. The usage of fuel-based irrigation siphons by adjacent ranches is limited due to a lack of power. Its use is frequently rendered uneconomical due to its limits and high fuel consumption. With power, the cost of developing agricultural projects would surely be reduced, resulting in a significant increase in production.

The greatest hazard caused by a lack of bridges in the southwest is the area's industrialization.Currently, the southwest and northeast are not well connected. The inhabitants of the region's transportation system will be as dynamic as the crops they produce as a result of the bridge's construction. As a reason, the crops grown by those farmers may readily be transported to other regions of the country. Crops will receive a fair price as a byproduct of this. In addition, new agricultural technology will be easier to implement, then the output will be increased. (c) Padma Bridge's Impact on Poverty Alleviation: The Padma Bridge will play a critical role in eradicating poverty in the country's southwestern area. The transportation system will be upgraded as a consequence of the bridge's construction, and industrial enterprises will be established. As a corollary, many individuals will be able to find a job. Furthermore, residents in the area may simply commute to other locations for employment. Unemployed people will be able to work as a result of this.

Additionally, the development of the Padma bidirectional bridge would give government assistance to Bangladeshis and the overwhelming majority of people in the southwest. The benefit must be acquired by a greater engagement of the province's business sector in Bangladesh's public economy. The immediate impact of the Padma Bridge on specific areas and factor markets may drive a sequence of adjustments in other economic sectors, given the reliance on economic activities.Between 2014 and 2044, the gross domestic output of southern Bangladesh will expand by more than a quarter.Enterprises of all sizes will flourish and expand in the region, promoting the development of the overall economy in the long run.The bridge, according to famous economists and former Bangladesh Bank governor, would play a significant role in employment generation, poverty alleviation, and industrialization in the southwestern area as well as the entire country.The bridge will connect directly to the Payra Seaport, allowing large-scale items and supplies to be transported quickly to the capital by road or rail. This bridge exemplifies how a country with limited resources may achieve its objectives if it is determined. Infrastructure delivers economic gain only to the extent that it provides people with services.The Padma Bridge will carry gas, power, and optical fiber. Local and global firms would undoubtedly be eager to establish industries in South Bengal. To encourage enterprises to cross the Padma, special incentives should be offered.

Mohammad Al-Amin & Rokeya Akter both are young freelance writer

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