Bangladesh: A PM’s promise to a boy

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Bangladesh government has approved a bridge over Pyra river costing US$120 million fulfilling a pledge that PM Sheikh Hasina made to a class-4 student.

In 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a promise of building a bridge at Patuakhali's Mirzaganj upazila over Payra river to a  to a class-4 student, who wrote to her with an earnest request.

Four years on, the premier put her words into action: on Tuesday, in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) that she chaired she approved a Tk 1,042 crore project to build a 1,690-metre bridge to establish a connection between Patuakhali sadar and Dhaka.

The issue of the bridge came to light when Shershendu Biswas, the schoolboy, in a hand-written Bangla letter on August 15 in 2016 highlighted the hassles he had to face to cross the Payra river to go to his home in Jhalakathi.

The boy mentioned that sometimes boats and trawlers sink in the river with high waves.

Many had lost their lives in such accidents and he does not want to lose his parents as he loves them very much.

The prime minister in her reply said she was delighted to receive the letter from him. She praised the boy for his awareness regarding his family's safety while crossing the river.

She said she was aware that the Payra in Mirzaganj is a turbulent river. The PM assured Biswas of taking steps to build a bridge over the river.

The bridge, whose construction will start this month, will go through Kachua, Betagi, Patuakhali, Lohaliya and Kalaiya roads. It is scheduled for completion in December 2025.

Under the project, around 600 meters of approach roads will be constructed and consultants will be appointed to acquire an eight-acre land.

Computerised toll collection system will be established for the bridge along with the construction of toll monitoring buildings, police stations and four residential buildings for people related to the project.

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