Padma Bridge A new gateway to economic potentials -Rifat Hossen


The world’s 122nd longest and Bangladesh’s longest bridge, ‘Padma Bridge’ is expected to be inaugurated on 25 June 2022. Padma Bridge is no longer a dream. With the entire Padma Bridge visible over the river Padma, it has now become a reality. The opening of Padma Bridge on June 25 is going to be a major transition for the nation as the 6.15 km mega infrastructure is going to open up new possibilities for the national economy. This Marvelous infrastructure has come up with abundant possibilities, especially for the marginalized people living in the south-western part of Bangladesh. It is realized to be that this mega project will change the image of the unsorted southern part of Bangladesh. Padma Bridge will contribute substantially to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through the creation of strong supply chains that will enhance investment, external and internal trade, employment generation and poverty alleviation, and eventually better the socioeconomic status of the people in that region. We now have a bridge that connects Dhaka to 21 southern districts bringing in immense economic opportunities that may change the lives of over 30 million people in the region. The Padma Bridge, apart from adding to our national pride, also has given us reason to be optimistic of our economic future.

It is expected that the bridge will contribute to nearly two percent of GDP in our economy. Ease of transportation will create new business opportunities for the agricultural and industrial sectors. “With the bridge, capital inflow will increase, promoting industrial and commercial activity and increasing economic and employment opportunities for the local population,” the ADB said. Besides, the ADB said that the people of the region would have better access to health-care facilities available in Dhaka while easier communication would help to expand better education and training facilities, ensuring the availability of the quality workers required for sustainable economic growth. According to ADB estimates, the direct investment made around this bridge will boost the regional economy.  According to JICA estimates, a 10 percent reduction in travel time from Dhaka would increase the district economy to 5.5 percent, which would increase the region’s annual GDP growth by 1.7 percent. According to a Bangladesh News Agency, the bridge will be an important hub for many major sectors in the country’s south-west, including multinational communications, trade, tourism, and industry.

For the lack of enough transportation facilities, So far no economic zone has been formed in that region. Economic zones will be created, more employment will be generated while eco-parks, industrial parks, tourism and other service sectors will grow after the bridge is open. If once Padma Bridge is completed, the people of country’s south-western part hoped that the bridge will initiate an ‘industrial revolution’ in the country’s 21 south-western districts. The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the successful construction of Padma Bridge has boosted self-confidence that Bangladesh can implement even larger projects in future.
In Khulna and Barishal districts, there are more people below the poverty line compared to other districts. Farmers especially suffer because there is a lack of access to markets, soil has been adversely affected by salinity, and because of lack of fresh water in the dry seasons. More importantly, the people have remained isolated from the rest of the country. With the bridge, travel time from Dhaka to Khulna will be four hours instead of about 13 hours. The Padma Bridge promises to give a huge boost to our economy and change the lives of the most deprived sections of the population. It has the potential to accelerate our development dreams. But to make this happen, we must work hard to create an enabling environment for these aspirations to come true. Each taka being invested in the Padma Bridge will produce about tk. 2 worth of social good, says a research report.

The bridge can lead to not only an important highway but also arrange a railway line, which is essential for connecting India’s freight transport. The bridge will create connectivity of roads, railways and energy transportation easing international connectivity to India, Bhutan and Nepal by linking to the trans-Asian highway and trans-Asian railway. The enormous network and connectivity led to creating economic zones, industrial cities and so on. Bangladesh could become an important corridor in international trading as the Dhaka-Kolkata distance will be reduced by half, cutting the travel time significantly. According to the IMF, Bangladesh ranks 20th in the world in ranking GDP growth in 2022. In 2026, Bangladesh will reach the 3rd position in this ranking, one of the contributors of which will be the Padma Bridge.

Due to the Padma Bridge, the second seaport of the country Mongla seaport will be used properly like Chittagong seaport. Tourists rarely came to the southern part of the country because of transportation problems. But there are a number of engrossing tourist zone like Sundarban, Kuakata, Sixty Dome Mosque and so on. If once the Padma Bridge is formed, there will be a huge benefited by this tourism sector. There will be also benefited local people around in that region. In addition, economic activity in the south-west has already increased around the bridge, with mass-level industrialization underway. In this context, the rate of land sale in Barisal doubled in 2022 compared to 2019. Lands near highways are also being sold at three times higher prices than before. According to a light castle, there will be rapid growth of mega factories, hospitals, universities, housing industries, and small businesses around the Padma Bridge. As a result, the economic landscape of the country’s south-west part may change.
The writer of this article is the Student of Department of Sociology, University of Chittagong.