Padma Bridge to boost Bangladesh’s industrialisation and tourism
Much desired and long cherished the Padma started its journey on June 25, 2022, with new possibilities and new horizons. Not only for Bangladesh but also for the world. Padma bridge creates a new dimension for connectivity, business-regional trade, agriculture, industry, tourism and social sectors. However, these successes will not come automatically. As in the case of the Jamuna Bridge. To get the benefits from Padma Bridge, Padma Plus policy has to be made. At the same time, investment planning and business costs need to be reduced. For this, it is necessary to form a technical committee.
Due to the Padma Bridge, 10 lakh new entrepreneurs will be created in the next 5 years and 30-40 lakh new entrepreneurs in those districts in 10 years. 500-1000 new factories will be set up in 6 districts of the Barishal division in the next 10 years. As a result, 10 to 20 thousand crore takas will be added to the country’s economy. The number of tourists from India and Nepal will increase with the launch of this bridge. There will be a revolution in the tourism industry. The bridge will reduce the poverty of the people in the south-west of the country by 1.01 percent. Nationally, poverty will be reduced to zero-point 84 percent.
With the availability of education, medical care, electricity and gas, the pressure on Dhaka and other big cities will be reduced. According to the World Bank that 30 million people would directly benefit from the Padma Bridge. Fair prices of agricultural products will be ensured. The cost of production of agricultural products will be reduced. Agro-based industries will develop. This bridge will facilitate the communication of West Bengal with Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nepal and Bhutan. As a result, they will use this bridge as an economic corridor to earn foreign exchange. As a result of the bridge, a direct road and rail link will be established. As a result, travel time and distance will be reduced with Mongla, Payra, Asian Highway, Trans-Asian Railway Network and 8 provinces of India and West Bengal.
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the revenue from the Padma Bridge in the next 31 years will be $18.5 billion, which is 5.5 times the construction cost. In addition, social progress will add $ 25 billion to the economy. The value of the land that has been protected by river governance on both banks is about Tk 1,400 crore. Electricity, gas and internet lines through the bridge will save Tk 2,400 crore. As there is no ferry service, the cost will be Tk 3,600 crore.
The Padma Bridge is not just a bridge, it is a symbol of Bangladesh’s dignity. Only a successful leader can make people dream and fulfill it. The bridge will make a huge difference in the south-west of the country. This bridge will reduce regional disparities. If inequality is eliminated, GDP growth will increase. The whole country including the people of that region will get that benefit. But this requires a development plan. Through which the benefits of Padma bridge can be taken home.
The Padma Bridge will add an additional taka 47,000 to 60,000 crore to the country’s current gross domestic product (GDP). On average, the growth will increase from 1.2 percent to 2 percent every year. As the size of the GDP increases, the money added due to the bridge will also increase every year. The impact of the Padma Bridge will change the economy. As a result, the size of the economy will be bigger.
The bridge will directly benefit 30 million people in 21 districts in the southern part of the country. Tourism, industry, agriculture, education and health sectors will be developed in these districts. The products will reach the districts from Dhaka, Uttaranchal and Chattogram in a short time. At the same time, the products produced on the other side of the Padma will quickly move to other parts of the country, including Dhaka. Besides, people’s time will be saved by moving faster. In this way, economic activities will develop. According to a survey conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) before the construction of the Padma Bridge began, the country’s GDP growth rate will increase by 1.2 percent if the bridge is fully operational. After that time, the size of the country’s economy has grown faster than expected. In some years, the GDP growth rate has exceeded the target. However, due to Corona, the last two fiscal years have stumbled a little in GDP. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has forecast a growth rate of 7.2 percent in the current financial year.
In this context, the country’s economists and government policymakers think that the bridge will increase the GDP growth rate even more. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told parliament that the Padma Bridge would boost GDP growth by 1.3 percent per annum. Due to the increase in the size of GDP every year, the amount of money added to GDP will also increase.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Planning. Shamsul Alam said the size of the economy was very small at the time the Padma Bridge was surveyed. But the size of the economy has grown significantly over the past decade. Besides, there was no time for the survey on the construction of Payra port and the development of the infrastructure of Mongla port. In addition, larger infrastructure is being built in the south. For these reasons, the bridge’s contribution to GDP will increase further. It is estimated that GDP will grow at an average rate of 2 percent per year. Due to this bridge, the GDP growth rate will increase by 2 percent.
Meanwhile, the former chief economist of the World Bank, Zahid Hossain said that due to the Padma Bridge, the GDP growth will increase from 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent. However, in order to get this facility, the communication system on both sides of the bridge has to be developed. Roads need to be widened. Other infrastructural facilities need to be enhanced.
If the growth due to the Padma Bridge increases by 1.2 percent, it will add Tk 48,000 crore in the next financial year. If the growth is 1.3 percent, it will add 52 thousand crore takas. If the growth is 1.6 percent, it will add Tk 64,000 crore and if it grows at 2 percent, it will add Tk 80,000 crore.
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge will change not only the south-western region but the entire economy of Bangladesh. In more detail, the bridge will play an important role in many areas of South Asia and Southeast Asia, including communications, trade, and tourism. All in all, this bridge has really become the dream bridge of the people of the country.
In addition, the bridge will be part of the Trans-Asian Railway in the future. Then the freight trains will run much more than the passenger trains. The train will run with the double container. Mongla and Payra ports will be connected with Dhaka and Chattogram. The new golden dream will be added to the economy and this bridge will play a huge role in the growth of the country.
Due to the Padma Bridge, the wheel of the economy of the south-western region will turn quickly. The standard of living and employment will increase. The Padma Bridge will play a huge role in agriculture, industry, economy, education and trade. The small islands adjacent to the southern Kuakata and the Sundarbans can be used for tourism. Kuakata Beach, Sundarbans and Payra Port have huge potential for tourism.
After the launching of the Padma Bridge, the people of South Bengal are now able to travel to Dhaka in a short time. Because of the bridge, for the first time, the whole country will move towards an integrated communication structure. The winds of change will also blow in the villages of south Bengal. Farmers, fishermen, weavers, and small and medium traders of the region can easily connect with the capital Dhaka, the largest consumer gathering in Bangladesh. On the other hand, they can collect raw materials from the capital and take them to their village and surrounding SME enterprises.
There is a rush to set up new businesses, industries, housing projects, resorts, universities, special economic zones, high-tech parks, human resource training centers, restaurants and various Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) ventures. The shipbuilding industry has started expanding in Khulna and Barishal. The tourism industry in Kuakata is developing rapidly. This trend of development will be faster in the coming days. Besides railways, gas, electricity and internet infrastructure will also be set up across the Padma Bridge. As a result, the communication time between Dhaka and Kolkata will be reduced by about half. This will affect the expansion of international trade between Bangladesh, India, Bhutan and Nepal. The number of goods and services at Payra and Mongla seaports will increase. New ships will flock. With easy access to internet services, digital business will expand in the south. The number of freelancers will increase. And if gas and electricity are readily available, trade will also develop in the region. This bridge will undoubtedly play an important role in making Bangladesh a developed country. All in all, this bridge of dreams will bridge the economy and open new horizons.
The writer is a researcher and columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org