Bangabandhu & Bangladesh In A Riverine Life11 June 2021
Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury :
riverine. From time immemorial, we are tied to the umbilical cord to rivers. Our livelihood, transportation, agriculture, industry, economy, consciousness, culture- all are fluvial. It can be said that rivers were the sole bridging point between our social and commercial relationship. Rivers are such an entity in the life of a Bangalee that it has got honed in the innermost cognition of our blood vessels for ages. Whenever we had been tested by the voice of nation, crisis of existence and necessity of self-introduction, at those critical moments our rivers surged through our consciousness and kept vigilance like a sibling. During the Liberation War, in the hearts of millions of Bangladeshis one fiery revolutionary slogan was proclaimed - 'Your and my address is Padma, Meghna, Jamuna.' We realized that our destination was Padma, Meghna, and Jamuna; our only hallmark was - 'This struggle is for our freedom, this struggle is for our independence.' At that time, millions of Bangalees plunged into the war against enemies with their lives at stake, responding to the call made by the greatest Bangalee of all time- Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. With their majestic sacrifice, we have obtained an independent country- Bangladesh, riverine Bangladesh.
For the Mujib Birth Centenary and Golden Jubilee of Independence, we vowed that Bangladesh will stand tall in the World Map with her head held high. We can state with pride and dignity, Bangladesh stands up right now. Once upon a time, for constructing a road, a small bridge or even a culvert, foreign assistance was required. But now Bangladesh is building the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant. The Payra Deep Seaport is also being constructed. Once Khaleda-Yunus conspired against the Padma Bridge, but that bridge has now surfaced over water in front of people. Now the whole world witnesses Bangladesh through all these various development projects. At present, Bangladesh is the name of an esteemed developing country. For taking Bangladesh to such a lofty height, the person whose contribution is immense is the daughter of Bangabandhu, Gem of the Country, honorable Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina.
Currently, public healthcare service in Bangladesh has improved and at the same time, medical facilities have reached the doorsteps of Bangladeshi people. People no longer die without treatment. There is no shortage of food nor of clothes. Helpless, vagabond people are being given shelter; homeless people are being given houses for free. Free books are being distributed to the students of all educational institutions up to secondary level. Every kid of the country is now attending schools. No child will remain without education, no human being will remain homeless - this is our oath. It has been possible to advance gradually to this state of infinite possibilities because of the appropriate leadership of the Jewel of the Country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Many governments were formed before her government, but they only filled office and left. But they did nothing for the public. They repeatedly looted our country's wealth, jested with people's fate, and turned the country into a centre for corruption. They tried to disable the youth by creating a chain of drugs, terrorism, and degenerated culture. With ardent efforts put forth by the present government, Bangladesh has now made an about-turn from its previous wretched condition.
While the whole world is plagued by the Covid-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina alongside 16 crore of her people are fighting against the Coronavirus with patience, diligence, and prudence. Due to Coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh along with the entire world is facing a time of harsh reality. Since March 2020, we have been living in a different milieu. The so-called civil society of Bangladesh anticipated that lives of thousands and millions of our densely populated country would be endangered; a possibility of turmoil in economic, social, education and health system would arise and the entire system of Bangladesh might go downhill. Because of the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, it has been possible to handle this impending catastrophic situation. We have been able to show the world how with a qualified leader a nation can tackle a calamity successfully. Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland has attributed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina an outstanding inspirational female leader for her incredible leadership quality.
She has named three 'phenomenal women leaders and deeply inspiring' prime ministers from the countries under the Commonwealth and they are Jacinda Arden, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mia Amor Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados and Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has referred to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina as a remarkable one among the three. Besides, as an acknowledgment the World Health Organization (WHO) has congratulated the Prime Minister for handling the Covid pandemic situation nicely. By this time, Corona vaccines have arrived in the country and vaccination programme has begun; to ensure health protection of everybody Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared free vaccine to every citizen.
Bangladesh is a developing country now. Therefore, we have started to dream to grow into a developed country from a developing one. The country is forging ahead. Even amid the ongoing pandemic crisis, Bangladesh has hit a reserve of 43 billion dollars in foreign exchange. GDP per capita income has surpassed 2000 dollars. With the appropriate leadership of honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the country is riding a rollercoaster of development and progression with glory. Honorable Prime Minister announced a manifesto of a change in upcoming days for betterment. She has transmuted Bangladesh into a developing digital Bangladesh. She not only makes us dream for future but materializes the dream into reality too. With her leadership, we have reached the row of developing countries from a poor country and by 2041 we will transform ours into a developed one. Hence, we are on the way to conquering our dreams. Today each person of Bangladesh believes - the days have changed.
Many challenges created impediment to the development of the country. We have been successful to vanquish all challenges with the guidance of the Prime Minister. The government is implementing important mega projects with self-financed endorsement. Today people of the country assert with pride - the Padma Bridge is being built with our own money. With the leadership of the honorable Prime Minister, Bangladesh has joined the nuclear club by constructing the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant. For the first time, Bangabandhu Underwater Expressway Tunnel is going to be built under Karnaphuli River. Previously there was no highway; now city transport system is being radically altered with the construction of modern elevated expressway, metro railway and so on. Furthermore, an extensive direct railway line is under construction from Chattogram to Ghumdhum, Cox's Bazar.
With the ingenious and sagacious leadership of the ideal daughter of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Jewel of the Country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we are going to be bestowed an up-to-date developed Bangladesh. The activities of the Prime Minister are not only being praised in the domestic land; rather being applauded all over the world. In the arena of development, she is now a 'role model' to the world. Bangladesh will step into a developed country with her leadership skill before 2041 - it is all of our hope.
In the frontiers of naval and marine sectors of the country, there are endless potentials for advancement. By utilizing those possibilities with expert hands, we have to lead the country ahead. The activities of the Padma Bridge and the Payra Seaport will be extended across whole Bangladesh gradually and each citizen of the country will be benefitted from these directly and indirectly. Cerulean marine resources will be conducive to domestic economic growth of Bangladesh. Our coastal riches will play the most important role to metamorphose us into a developed country by 2041.
(Translated by Sheikh Masud Kamal.
Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury is in-charge of Ministry of Shipping as The State Minister. Sheikh Masud Kamal is Joint Director, BIWTA).
-----To be continued