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Padma Bridge demonstrates what Bangladesh can do on its own: Naoki

Appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “far-sighted vision and political astuteness,” Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said the completion of Padma Bridge demonstrates what Bangladesh can do for its economic development and stability.

“Padma Bridge has been done on its own initiative and on its own funding. This is the bridge of national dream and pride. This bridge will truly fulfill the growth potential of Bangladesh,” he told a small group of journalists at his residence on Tuesday, reports UNB.

The Japanese envoy said the year 2022 will be remembered by the world with so many examples of quality infrastructure including Padma Bridge inauguration on June 25 and partial inauguration of metro rail later this year.

He said Japan will continue to cooperate with Bangladesh for its development and will stand by this country in its development journey until the day Bangladesh fulfills vision 2041 and realizes the vision of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build Sonar Bangla.

Responding to a question, ambassador Naoki said their focus remains on a number of mega projects in Dhaka, Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar in line with the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative for the construction of an industrial corridor.

But, he added, for the sake of this industrial corridor’s (Dhaka, Ctg, Cox’s Bazar) better use, there should be better nationwide connectivity to see inclusive development.

Naoki said the overall connectivity will be enhanced by the Padma Bridge and it will really vitalize the economy in Southern part of Bangladesh making rural economy vibrant.

With this significant development, he said, the Padma Bridge will have an enormous economic impact. “Though Dhaka and Chattogram remain the main stage of the economy, rural economic development is important.”

The envoy said he is quite sure that there will be opportunities for the Japanese private sector to look into business and investment opportunities even outside the BIG-B areas once this Padma Bridge becomes operational with enhanced connectivity in place.

Recalling Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Japan in 1996, Naoki said she made a request with the Japanese side for cooperation on two bridges – Padma Bridge and Rupsha Bridge.

Rupsha Bridge was constructed by the cooperation of Japan and for Padma Bridge while Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) conducted the preliminary feasibility study, he said.

“It is gratifying that Japan was able to be part of this project at the very beginning in the manner of conducting a feasibility study. This is something to bear in mind,” Naoki said, adding that he conveyed his sincere congratulations to PM Hasina in person on Monday.

Responding to a question, he said it could have been desirable for the JICA to finance this Padma Bridge. “But you know the history. It was rather unfortunate that JICA could not be part of this….”

The ambassador, however, highly appreciated PM Hasina’s decision to go only on its own funding. “This clearly demonstrates what this country is capable of doing on its own.”

He said with the completion of the Padma Bridge, there is no doubt that the connectivity between Dhaka and Southern part of Bangladesh will be enhanced.

“I am sure that the transportation of goods will further be promoted and the economic impact of the bridge will be enormous,” he added.