World Bank nixed Padma Bridge funding, B’desh built with own resources: Hasina

Sumi Khan(IANS)-

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that her government has “taken every step to protect people’s lives” as she cited how it had built the Padma Bridge with its own resources after the World Bank withdrew its funding.

In her introductory speech at the Awami League Advisory Council meeting held at her official residence Ganabhaban, she noted that a Canadian court declared all the allegations regarding Padma Bridge project false and baseless, although Nobel laureate Dr Mohammad Yunus lobbied against its funding by the World Bank.

The Prime Minister said her government could take up the challenge as she has been honest in her purpose. “We have built that bridge with our own money. Also, I will inaugurate it on June 25,” she said.

“Bangladesh has changed a lot… Bangladesh has proved it is no longer dependent on foreign funding by self-financing the construction of the Padma Bridge.”

She accused Yunus of carrying out the conspiracy against the motherland, just for holding the post of Managing Director of Grameen Bank.

“He illegally stayed in the MD post of Grameen Bank at the age of 71. He lodged a case regarding the matter and lost,” she Premier mentioned.

At the outset of the meeting, a one-minute silence was observed in memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, four national leaders, martyrs of the August 15 massacre, and late members of the Advisory Council.

Hasina, who is also President of the ruling party, said that Awami League never forgets its election pledges after forming the government.

“Every time while formulating the budget, we evaluate how much progress we have made to implement the election pledges,” she said, adding they also consider how to implement the unfinished election pledges.

She said that the government is advancing the country using modern technology by developing people of grassroots.

Recalling the horrible days the people faced after the mayhem on August 15, 1975 the Prime Minister said that the power was not in the hands of the masses, but with by the self-claimed killers of Bangabandhu, his family, and four party leaders in jail.

She said that after assuming power, the Awami League government has been able to bring discipline in every sphere of life after it was destroyed by military regimes led by Ziaur Rahman and Mohammad Ershad.

She proudly mentioned that the government has accomplished the development of the country from the rural level with 90 percent of its own resources and Bangladesh has now attained the status of a developing country.

“We don’t believe in the trickle down development, we always believe in the socioeconomic development from the grassroots level,” she said.

She also said that her government has been able to reduce the poverty level to under 20 percent and hoped that in the upcoming census report, the rate will decline further.

She mentioned that the government is taking preparations to face the challenges that may arise because of the country’s graduation to a developing nation by 2026.

“This will not be a tough job for us. Our export earnings and remittance inflow are increasing,” she added.

Hasina also said that the government has formulated Delta Plan 2100 for sustainable development of the country overcoming the climate change effects as she also put emphasis on strengthening the party to better serve the people.