Information minister asks whether Padma Bridge detractors are disappointed or ashamed
“So, now the question of the people is whether the BNP leaders will go over the bridge or under the bridge,” he added.
One question pops into people's heads as to whether BNP and its allies – who raised questions about Padma Bridge construction at various meetings and seminars – are frustrated or embarrassed, said Information Minister Hasan Mahmud.
The Awami League joint general secretary made the remarks at a webinar titled "Even Though it is Far Away, it is Still Connected" organised by the Chattogram district administration.
Hasan Mahmud connected to the virtual programme as the chief guest from his official residence Saturday afternoon.
The minister said when the Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina commenced work on the Padma Bridge, the World Bank alleged that corruption was taking place on the bridge project though the global lender released not a single penny.
At that time, various research institutes, individuals and eminent economists of the country – and above all BNP – made allegations about the construction of Padma Bridge at various meetings and symposiums in tune with the World Bank.
They alleged as much as they could, but a Canadian court later ruled that the World Bank's allegations were false, noted Hasan.
Although the World Bank (WB) later wanted to finance the project, the prime minister turned down the WB's offer and decided to build the bridge with the country's own funds.
Even then BNP and its allies continued to speak negatively about the mega project.
However, after the two sides of the Padma Bridge were connected on 10 December, they cannot be heard, the information minister said, adding that so, the question remains as to whether those individuals and organisations – including BNP – are hiding themselves in shame or have become hopeless.
Such organisations and individuals, including BNP, raise their voice 10 times more than those of the foreigners when they find any error in the government's activities.
While everyone is congratulating PM Sheikh Hasina and her party on the success of the country, their silence proves that they are really disappointed, said Information Minister Hasan Mahmud.
He recalled that the BNP chairperson predicted that the Awami League government would not be able to build the bridge, and even if they could, no one would be able to cross the bridge.
"So, now the question of the people is whether the BNP leaders will go over the bridge or under the bridge," he said.
The minister further said that the fourth IT revolution, based on IT and ICT, is going on in the world at present. Although Bangladesh lags behind the previous three industrial revolutions, it is moving forward together with the current fourth industrial revolution.
Where India declared Digital India in 2016 and the UK declared Digital UK in 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the creation of Digital Bangladesh in 2008.
She later transformed the country into a truly digital Bangladesh through her able leadership.
The number of internet users in the country is now 11 crore and Facebook users 4.5 crore. The IT sector has created employment opportunities for one million people. The government aims to double that number next year.
In the IT sector, export earnings were $26 million in 2008 which has now risen to $1,000 billion. Bangladesh is now an example to the world in digital transactions and mobile banking.
"Where the [novel] corona[virus] epidemic brought trade and commerce to a standstill in many developed countries of the world, the wheel of our country's economy was moving with the help of digitalisation," he added.
As a result, Bangladesh is one of the few countries in the world that has retained positive GDP growth, far above neighbouring countries that witnessed a negative growth rate during the pandemic period.