Essay : Padma Bridge : Economic and Social Mutation

Padma Bridge : Economic and Social Mutation

The construction of Padma Bridge is expected to be inaugurated by June 2022. It is the longest bridge in Bangladesh. The infrastructure has come up with abundant possibilities, especially for the marginalized people living in the southwestern part of Bangladesh.

Padma Bridge will add substantially to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Bangladesh through the creation of strong supply chains that will increase investment, external and internal trade, employment and socioeconomic status of the people in that region. It is expected that the bridge will contribute to nearly twp percent of GDP in our economy. Ease of transportation will create new business opportunities for the agricultural and industrial sectors. This will generate a new investment hub for both local and foreign investors which will lead to the industrial development with a huge employment opportunity. As demand for labour increases, there will be more recruitment, reskilling or up-skilling wages. The wider economic opportunities will eventually alleviate poverty, raise living standards and produce intergenerational gains through greater affordability of education and healthcare.

 

Economic Mutation

Establishing new routes

the Padma isolates the southern part from the rest of the country. Despite significant road-transport development in the southern region, a bridge was of the essence to pull off the efficiency of such improvements. Struggle in ferry worsen every year with an increasing number of vehicles. The waiting time at ferry points is more than two hours for buses and light vehicles and almost 10 hours for trucks. The struggles allude to an abysmal local condition when it comes to travelling. However, there has not been much projection of the annual economic and man-hour loss caused by the delay at ferry ghats, a TV channel corroborated that in August 2020, toll collection of 80 million BDT was recorded against a toll collection of 240 million BDT in the same month of the previous year 2019.

There is also an absence of direct roadways through the Tamabil-Sylhet-Sorail-Kanchpur-Dhaka-Mawa-Bhatiapara-Norail-Jessore-Benapole highway which will be resolved by the bridge said the appraisal report of WB. the bridge will create connectivity of roads, railways, and energy transportation easing international connectivity to India, Bhutan, and Nepal by linking to the Trans-Asian highway (N-8) and Trans-Asian railway. The burgeoning network and connectivity have thus far led to creating economic zones, high-tech parks, private industrial cities, and so on.
Reducing struggle of riverine sites: the southwest region covers 27% of the nation’s population. But the region has been relatively under the radar when it comes to economic development compared to other parts. Climate change has caused problems like losing lands, erosion, business leading to migration. The outskirts of Padma also have prevailing poverty due to climate and network issues. As a result, the proportion of the population living below the poverty line in the southwest region is 5% higher than the rest of the country. The Padma bridge will remedy these issues.

 

Industrial revolution in 21 districts

the imminent establishment of the Padma bridge is supposed to deliver an Economic Rate of Return (ERR) of investing in the bridge of 18-22% per year which is subject to increase. Formerly insular lands have now been accredited as lands of high value because of some form factors.

Transportation will be conducive to the local businesses as the connection from Dhaka to port cities has lessened. For agribusiness, delivery will be a lot faster cutting costs on storage guaranteeing product quality. Real estate businesses will rebound from previous losses as nearby areas are expected to be vastly industrialized by factories, mega factories, hospitals, universities and housing facilities. Hotel businesses in Barisal, shipwrecking industries in the two seaports, liquified natural gas stations (LNG) industries are planned to be set up far above and beyond after the opening of the bridge. According to BSCIC officials, around 500-1000 factories of various categories are projected to be established in areas surrounding Barisal. The district is expected to contribute 2% growth to the national economy due to industrialization caused by the bridge.

 

Increasing GDP

The post establishment period of the Padma bridge is supposed to bolster our economy in many ways. The long-term road user’s benefit was calculated using the traffic model. This was based on the savings or vehicle operation cost and savings in travel time cost. The estimation stood at 1,295,840 million BDT ($18,512 million) over the 31 years.

Two simulations resulted in a 100% and a 70% investment stimulus felt in the southwest region over a direct injection of $2.1 billion into the regional economy. This would add a value of about 453,670 million BDT over a 31-year period which draws a 10.6% growth. Annually this rate would be 0.33% of the national base GDP.

 

Increasing international trade

From a foreign trade standpoint, Bangladesh has already started receiving investments for setting up businesses near the construction. Manufacturing businesses, RMG, assembling plants, storage facilities are most likely to be focused on. New workplaces will add to new employment serving the government’s purpose. Creating strong ties to the two main seaports, exports are projected to grow and so will more export-import zones. The government will gain a substantial amount of taxation and toll post-project completion adding to its revenue.

Social Mutation

The Padma Bridge is estimated to increase the GDP of the country by more than one percent. It will benefit about three crore people across 21 south-western districts of Bangladesh. These districts will be connected with the growth centres through better connectivity. They can be used as economic corridors. This will create opportunities for employment and income. The transportation system will be enhanced. Supply chains within the country will be connected better. Goods and services will move smoothly from one place to another. People from the south-western parts of the country are also expected to have better access to education, healthcare and other services.

 

Conclusion

Not only will people move to the urban areas easily, opportunities will also come to the rural areas. This will change the rural economy which is already undergoing transformation. The share of the agriculture sector to the GDP of the country has declined significantly with the emergence of non-farm activities in the rural areas. This was facilitated by several factors including better communication and connectivity.

Therefore, once the bridge is fully functional, monitoring and evaluation of the infrastructure will be critical to get the expected return. The construction of the bridge has been a landmark achievement of the government. But without its efficient management and governance, the rate of return from this mega project will be low. Finally, as Bangladesh is working towards reviving the economy from the fallouts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Padma Bridge can help the country fulfil this effort to a great extent. It can also contribute towards achieving sustainable development.
Facts File:

  • Project Name : Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project
  • Directly Connected Districts : 3, Munshigang, Madaripur and Shariatpur
  • Connected Point : Mawa, Lauhajong, Munshiganj to Zajira, Shariatpur
  • Construction Start : 12 December 2015
  • Construction Cost : BDT 301933.88 Million or, USD 3.868 Billion (Including VAT and IT)
  • Construction Company : China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited
  • Length : 6.15 km (20,177.17 ft)
  • Width : 18.10m (59.38 ft)
  • Viaduct : 3.148 km (Road), 532m (Rail)
  • Longevity : 100 years
  • Earthquake Resistance : 9 Richter scale
  • Spans : 41
  • Pillars/Piers : 42
  • Piles : 294
  • Design : AECOM (United States)
  • Feasibility Study : Finalized by JICA
  • First Span set-up : 30 September 2017
  • 41th Span set-up : 10 December 2020

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