A long saga of sufferings and hassles of 21 southern districts has come to an end with the opening of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge on 25 June.
Before the opening of the bridge, commuters of the southern part of the country had to face untold sufferings as there was no direct land route between Dhaka and southern districts.
Crossing the river by ferry causes people to suffer all through the year. Dense fog in winter, strong river current often caused postponement of ferry ghats at Mawa, Paturia Daulatdia, leaving people in utmost hassles and endless waiting.
Especially during festivals like Eid and holidays, the traffic congestion waiting for ferry took hours, even days under the open sky. The road's inaccessibility through the mighty Padma hit emergency patients hard, with many reports of patients dying while waiting for a ferry to cross the river.
But the bridge ends all the sufferings as people of southwestern region now can drive straight to Dhaka by road. The long nightmarish wait for the ferryboat is over. They will now cross the river in just six minutes by the Padma Bridge.
From now on, the tale of immense sufferings of people at the ferry ghat will end forever.
It was a historical moment for the southern people as well as the whole countrymen when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opens the 6.15km landmark rail-road bridge to traffic Saturday.
It took 51 years since independence for the people of the southern region to have a direct road link with capital Dhaka and key port Chattogram. After six months, they can expect to cross the bridge by train too, when the rail link project ends in December this year.
The bridge will expedite transporting goods to and from Mongla port in Bagerhat and Bhomra land port in Satkhira, facilitating export trades and easing supplies of essentials in the domestic market. Around 160 tonnes of shrimp are shipped to Dhaka every day from the Khulna region, while jute worth about Tk500 crore are exported through Mongla Port annually.
The bridge carries a gas pipeline which will pave the way for expanding the gas network to the south-western districts. Pipeline gas supply will encourage industrialisation and generate employment in the relatively underdeveloped region.