“I’m Bangabandhu’s daughter; I’ll fulfil what I commit to InshAllah”
In response to criticism after the World Bank backed out of funding the Padma Bridge, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said, "I'm the daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I'll fulfil what I commit to InshAllah."
She made the remarks today (June 22, 2022) at 11am during a press conference held in Shapla Hall at the Prime Minister's Office.
PM said, "Padma Bridge is our pride. The country's southern region had been cut off from other districts and the capital city Dhaka by the Padma river. People of the south are well aware of the risks involved and length of time required to travel to Dhaka."
"I went to Japan in 1997 after forming the government in 1996. I proposed that the Japanese government build the Rupsha Bridge over Bhairab river and Padma Bridge over Padma river, and they accepted my proposal."
"Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also spoke about bridges over Padma and Jamuna rivers when he visited Japan in 1973, but he placed emphasis on Jamuna Bridge. Jamuna river was being studied at the time by the Japanese government. We later build a bridge over Jamuna in collaboration with Japan."
"After coming to power in 1996, I built bridges with rail links. Japan agreed when I suggested it to them. In 2001, they also gave us the survey report. On the basis of that, we laid the first stone for the Padma Bridge construction on July 4, 2001, and Japan decided to build it from Munshiganj's Mawa Point."
"Unfortunately for us, I could not come to power in 2001. BNP came to power and stopped it (Padma Bridge project). Re-surveys were requested from Japan. They (Japan) recommended building a bridge from Mawa in the second survey. Then, we learned that there would be two Padma bridges, but BNP could not accomplish anything while in power."
"Many negative remarks appeared in newspapers after I said I would build the Padma Bridge with our own resources. Let's start by talking about the BNP leader. On January 2, 2018, at a Chhatra Dal discussion, BNP claimed that the government was dreaming of building the Padma Bridge. However, Padma Bridge will not be built while the Awami League is in power."
"In 1996, Dr Akbar Ali Khan was our finance secretary. On July 1, 2012, he said that as a result of the World Bank's decision (to back out), Bangladesh would find it extremely challenging to receive loan support in the future. Due to corruption allegation, he said, donor organisations will always view Bangladesh differently when considering funding for a new project."
"I don't know why they lack self-confidence. They forget that on the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, people of this country took up arms, fought and earned victory. When we say something, we say it thoughtfully. I'm referring to that mental strength because we are a successful nation. But they all possess a spirit of defeat. However, I'm the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I will only commit to what I'm capable of. I'm grateful to my countrymen for standing by us."