When the World Bank and other international financial organisations pulled out of their pledge to finance the Padma Bridge, the government of Bangladesh was faced with an unprecedented setback.
The Padma Bridge project was at the time estimated at Tk20,507.20 crore, more than 80% of which was to be funded by World Bank, ADB and JICA. Bangladesh had never before funded or implemented any project of this magnitude.
In fact, to put things in context, the budget allotment under ADP at the time for over a thousand projects combined was only Tk11,480.11 crores.
Experts urged the government to accept all the conditions of the funding agencies, or look for new investment through G2G or PPP, but no one dared suggest we build the bridge ourselves.
And yet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina went against the tide and decided to implement the project with domestic finance.
Not only did she hold firm on the idea of self-financing the most important infrastructure project in our country's history, but ever since the project began, she has led from the front to ensure that fund allocation and approval happens on time. Even though the project exceeded its deadline because of technical issues, work on the project site did not halt for a single day.
On 25 June, when Sheikh Hasina officially inaugurates the Bridge, not only will the country achieve a landmark, the country will achieve a landmark and the Prime Minister will have much to be proud of. And she has made us proud.
Designed to connect the south-western part of the country to the capital especially, and the eastern regions in general, the opening of the Padma bridge will change the country forever.
Bangladesh's economic development and progress, connectivity and ease of travel will be clearly marked as pre- and post-Padma bridge period from 25 June.
This publication is a documentation of the many achievements the Prime Minister, the Bangladesh government and the country's people can now claim to have accomplished.
But it is also, hopefully, a useful compilation of visual data on all aspects of the construction of this historic and soon to be iconic mega-structure.
The long-aspired Padma bridge, once a distant dream, is now a reality. For millions of people, it means so much more than a mere bridge. To them, it means access to upward mobility and higher quality of life.
And it is these people who will be thankful for Prime Minister Hasina's persistence and fearless leadership that prioritised the people's need over politics, making it possible to build the dream bridge.