Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina marked a historic moment in the country’s infrastructure development by inaugurating the 82-km Padma Bridge Rail Link. This significant project, executed under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is poised to transform Bangladesh’s connectivity and economic landscape.
- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the Dhaka-Bhanga section of the rail route, connecting Dhaka and Jashore via the Padma Bridge.
- The inauguration ceremony took place at Mawa Railway Station in Munshiganj.
- The remaining portion of the project, linking Jessore, is scheduled to be launched in June next year, according to project officials, as reported by the Dhaka Tribune.
Chinese Contribution and Impact
- The Padma Bridge Rail Link stands out as the largest infrastructure project in Bangladesh financed under Chinese preferential loans, with the Exim Bank of China providing a substantial loan of Tk 21,036.70 crore.
- Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Yao Wen, emphasized the project’s significance under the BRI.
- He stated that this landmark initiative is poised to directly benefit 80 million people and could potentially boost Bangladesh’s economic growth by 1.5%.
Economic Boost and Connectivity
- The project, estimated to cost Tk 39,246.80 crore, holds the promise of a considerable economic boost for Bangladesh.
- It is expected to increase the country’s economic growth by enhancing connectivity and facilitating smoother transportation across regions.
- Improved connectivity through the Padma Bridge Rail Link is anticipated to play a pivotal role in stimulating economic activities, encouraging trade, and fostering regional development.
Geography and Demographics of Bangladesh
- Located in South Asia, Bangladesh shares borders with India, Myanmar, and the Bay of Bengal to the south.
- Approximately 166 million people, making it one of the world’s most densely populated countries.
- Bengali (Bangla) is the official language.
- Parliamentary democracy with a President as the head of state and a Prime Minister as the head of government.
- Textiles and garments, agriculture, and remittances play significant roles in the economy.
- Frequent natural disasters, including floods and cyclones, and challenges related to infrastructure and poverty.
- Known for its diverse cultural heritage, including music, dance, and a rich culinary tradition.