Lambasting Dr Muhammad Yunus, PM Sheikh Hasina said the World Bank's funding to the Padma multipurpose bridge project was stopped due to a person who got the highest opportunities from the Awami League government but betrayed the people of Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday (16 June) said that the country's southern region will no longer remain neglected after the opening of the much-awaited Padma Bridge on June 25 next.
"I think that the people of the southern region will have no more trouble....Their financial condition will improve. They will be able to lead a more improved life for the development of their socio-economic condition," the premier said while inaugurating a recently completed housing project "Palli Janopad" in Rangpur and newly constructed "Bangabandhu Academy for Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development (BAPARD)" at Kotalipara in Gopalganj through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
"The southern region has always been neglected, but it would not remain ignored anymore as the Padma Bridge would help develop industries there," she said, adding that her government has already brought the area under the electricity network and is improving internal road connectivity further there.
"We, the people of the southern region or the banks of Padma River, have always been neglected and poverty has been a regular feature in our lives. But it (poverty) will not remain anymore," she said.
Noting that the Padma Bridge is going to be opened on June 25 next, Sheikh Hasina asked the people of the country to celebrate its grand launching as the construction of the 6.15-km double-deck road-rail bridge over the mighty river was a matter of big challenge for Bangladesh.
"Celebrate it not only on the banks of Padma, but also throughout Bangladesh. I want the festival to be held in every district because it was a big challenge for us," she said.
The PM said many people earlier thought that the government couldn't construct the Padma Bridge over the mighty Padma River.
Hasina said her government started taking development programmes to change the fate of the rural people when her party came in power 21 years after the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"We've taken all development programmes targeting the rural people," she said.
Describing the newly opened BAPARD as an excellent institute, the prime minister hoped that it would play an important role to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of people through its research and effective measures.
She said the government has been setting up 100 industrial zones in a bid to protect the arable lands in the country.
"None can develop any industrial factory or mills on arable lands. If he or she does, we'll not supply electricity and gas to it. It is our clear word that we'll give nothing," she said.
Hasina said her government wants to develop the country in a planned way so that the rural people can avail the urban facilities staying in their villages.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Tajul Islam, State Minister Swapan Bhattacharjee and Secretary of Rural Development and Co-operative Division Mashiur Rahman spoke at the function, joining it from Gopalganj.
Like BARD in Cumilla and RDA in Bogura, the BAPARD will promote research and develop model programmes for rural development.
The secretary, in his welcome speech, said the construction of three more institutes in three other divisions is now underway under projects aimed at poverty alleviation and rural development.