A festive mood prevailed among the people of Mawa in Munshiganj district and Jajira in Shariatpur district over the opening ceremony of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge on Saturday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to open the Padma Bridge, turning the nation's dream into a reality.

Thousands of people have started to throng into the bridge area centering the inaugural ceremony from Saturday morning.

A number of colourful boats were seen moving on the river to celebrate the country's biggest dream.

Banners and festoons were seen on both sides of the road connecting the bridge.

Special security measures have been taken in and around the bridge area to ensure full proof security.

The bridge has connected directly the country's 21 south and south-western with the capital, which is expected to accelerate the GDP growth by 1.23 per cent and make an outstanding contribution to socio-economic development by alleviating poverty at the rate of 0.84 per cent per annum, according to official estimates.

On July 09, 2012, PM Hasina at a cabinet meeting announced that Bangladesh would construct the Padma Bridge with its own funds after the World Bank withdrew from the project on allegation of unproved corruption conspiracy.

Later, the graft allegation was rejected by a Canadian Court as false and baseless after the World Bank filed a case in this regard.

Since the start on December 12, 2015 the work on bridge continued unstopped despite the Covid-19 pandemic situation and Holey Artisan tragedy.

The total allocation is Tk 30,193.39 crore, but the allocation for the main bridge is Tk 12,133.39 crore (including Tk 1,000 crore for installation of 400-kv electricity transmission line and gas line).

Besides, the Tk 9,400 crore was allocated for river training works, Tk 1,907.68 crore for approach roads (including two toll plazas, construction of two buildings for police stations and three service areas), Tk 1,515 crore for the rehabilitation of the displaced people (caused by the project) and Tk 2698.73 crore for land acquisition.

In 1998, the Awami League government had taken the initiative first to build the Padma Bridge and PM Hasina laid the foundation stone of the Padma Bridge on July 4, 2001. She inaugurated the construction of the main bridge on December 12, 2015.

Bangladesh signed an agreement with a Chinese firm - China Major Bridge Engineering Company on June 17, 2014 for construction of the bridge.

The first span of the bridge was installed on September 30 in 2017 while the last span (41st one) was installed on December 10, 2020. The two-storey bridge is 22 meters wide and has four lanes.

In May, 2016 ECNEC approved the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project. On October 14, 2018, the Prime Minister unveiled the plaque of Padma Bridge at Mawa end and opened work on Padma Bridge rail link project.

The Padma Bridge is expected to last more than 100 years, but its construction cost will be recovered in the next 35 years.

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