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PM on Padma Bridge: A befitting reply to 'conspirators'
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said by constructing the Padma bridge the government would give a befitting reply to those who are trying to tarnish the country's image and obstruct its development.
She made the comment while addressing a rally in Munshiganj after unveiling the name plaque of the bridge and Padma Bridge Rail Link Construction Project, UNB reports.
The PM also saw the work of the bridge on the Mawa side, inspected the progress of the Dhaka-Mawa and Pachchar-Bhanga parts of the N-8 Highway and inaugurated the construction of the rail link on the Mawa end.
While addressing another rally in Madaripur later in the day, Hasina blasted Dr Kamal Hossain for forging an alliance with the BNP, calling the combine a platform of killers and opportunistsÓ, adds BSS.
At the Munshiganj rally, the PM said the government would ensure an improved and beautiful life for the county's people by constructing the bridge with own funds.
The country's current GDP growth is 7.86 percent and it would be possible to increase that by another 1.2 percent once the bridge is constructed, she said.
"After constructing the rail link, the country will be able to attain 2 percent more growth," she said, adding that once the rail and road on the Padma bridge would be built, government target to attain 10 percent GDP growth would not be a tough job.
"My only aim is to change the fate of the people by keeping up the existing development trend," she said.
Talking about Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus' ÒconspiracyÓ against the construction of the Padma bridge, Hasina said he had done that just for securing his Grameen Bank managing director post which he lost for exceeding age limit.
"Losing his MD post, he went to the court. But the court gave its verdict against him as his age was 72 whereas the maximum age limit for that post in Bangladesh is 60 years."
Hasina said Dr Yunus had also ÒengagedÓ then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Cherry Blair, wife of the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to lobby for him. "They called me several times, but I told them that the law doesn't permit Dr Yunus to stay in the MD post."
She said the Nobel Laureate along with the editor of a newspaper of the country convinced Hillary Clinton through sending several emails to withdraw the World Bank funding from the Padma bridge project.
Without taking permission from the board, the then World Bank president on the last day of his office signed the fund withdrawal paper of the project citing corruption in the construction work, the prime minister said.
"When I asked for the proof of the corruption, they failed to show [us] the documents.
Even, the World Bank said they might again come with funding if we remove our minister, secretary and so on. But I told them clearly that without any proper proof, I would not do anything," she said.
They had also alleged that the prime minister's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy and younger sister Sheikh Rehana were involved in the corruption, she said, adding: "At that time, I said enough is enough. We don't need your money....we'll construct the bridge with our own resources."
She said no one, not even the members of her own party, could believe at that time that the bridge could be constructed without the World Bank funding. The prime minister also said after evaluating all the materials and documents, the Canadian federal court gave its verdict trashing the World Bank's corruption allegation as baseless, untrue and gaseous.
"There was a conspiracy at home and abroad behind withdrawal of the WB fund. It's very much unfortunate that the people behind this conspiracy and instigators are some people from our own country," she said.
Hasina also said that those people have no love for the country and no duty towards its people.
"And how the patriotism will come when they take interest from the poor, become rich taking interest from the poor? This interest monger can't love the country and its people. This is the reality," she said.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Army chief General Aziz Ahmed and Railways Minister Md Mazibul Hoque also spoke on the occasion.