12yrs of AL govt: Drastically change in country’s development...

Dhaka, Saturday   23 January 2021

12yrs of AL govt: Drastically change in country’s development

 Saiful Islam daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 06:10 PM, 9 January 2021  

File Photo

File Photo

The Awami League, the ruling government of Bangladesh, got the responsibility of running the country through a landslide victory in the 2008’s 9th parliamentary elections when the country’s economic condition was fragile and the countrymen’s living standards were below the poverty line.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is leading Bangladesh – which is mired in rampant corruption during the Jamaat-BNP term – to the doorstep of a developed country. Bangladesh gets the direction to development under her single leadership for 12 years and her efforts to achieve Vision-2021.

The Awami League is the first democratic government that got the opportunity to run Bangladesh for a decade. In these 12 years, the Awami League government is implementing huge mega-projects such as the construction of Padma Bridge and Metro Rail. Besides, the government is working diligently to improve the quality of life, such as – 100% electrification, providing internet access to every person, strengthening the foundation of the economy, increasing the rate of education, and eradicating poverty.

At this time, the pro-liberation government had to tackle various natural calamities as well as various conspiracies at home and abroad. The country’s economy has been hit by the Covid-19 crisis, including two cyclones and floods, which have just ended in 2020. However, the government has handled every crisis with determination.

The steps taken by the government to combat the COVID crisis have been lauded by all. Even Bangladesh ranks 20th in the list of the safest countries in the world amidst the situation of the pandemic crisis.

According to various indicators of Covid-19, the number of virus cases per lakh people is 37. The monthly mortality rate is 1.6. Only 44 out of every 10 lakh people have died.

The government recruited 2,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses in the fastest time across the country to combat the pandemic situation and the number of labs that are testing Covid-19 has been upgraded from 1 to 180 across the country.

Not only this, after the invention of the vaccine, the Bangladesh government signed an agreement with India through the G2G system to buy 30 million vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca. At the same time, the Serum Institute of India has confirmed to send 86 million vaccines to Bangladesh, as a result, it will be possible to vaccinate 55 million people of the country by 2021.

Not only the Covid-19 situation, the Awami League government has been continuously improving the country since the beginning of their term. For this, Bangladesh’s GDP ranks 30th and 39th in the current dollar in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As per the organization’s report, Bangladesh will surpass India in terms of per capita GDP in December 2020. Even the country’s central bank, Bangladesh Bank, has also confirmed this in their updated report.

According to the report, the gross domestic product (GDP) has increased by 5.20 percent in the just-concluded 2019-20 fiscal year. Before, It was 8.15 percent at the end of the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Besides, the current per capita income in Bangladesh is $2,064 as per the World Bank’s report. This has increased 15 times since Independence.

In the import-export and remittance index, the expatriates sent $25.63 billion – which is 18.66 percent more than in 2019.

The government has started giving a 2 percent incentive from the 2019-20 fiscal year to increase expatriate income. Since then, expatriate remittances have gained momentum. As a result of continued growth in remittance flows – Bangladesh Bank’s foreign exchange reserves have crossed a record high of $43 billion this year. 

The power sector is at the forefront of the visible development of the decade-rule of the current government. In 2009, the country’s power generation capacity was 4,982 MW. At present, the combined capacity of captive and renewable is 24,421 MW which is almost six times more than before.

A comparative analysis of the current power generation and demand with 2009 shows that the demand for electricity at that time was 6,000 MW where the BNP-Jamaat government’s power generation was only 3,600 to 3,700 MW. Now, the current Awami League government is generating 25,000 MW of electricity with a demand of 15,000 MW.

Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, says the Awami League government has set up 114 new power plants in the last 12 years where it was only 27 in 2009. Now that number is 141. As a result, 99 percent of people in the country are getting electricity connection facilities at the moment. “Electricity service will reach 100% of the people within a month,” he added.

Meanwhile, more than 31 percent of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant’s work, the most expensive project to further improve the country’s power system, has been completed so far. About 26 percent of the work of the Tk 1.13 lakh crore project was completed in March when the pandemic Covid-19 was first discovered in the country.

The first reactor of the first unit of the power plant – the Pressure Vessel, has already arrived. The first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh with the help of Russia will generate a total of 2400 MW of electricity at 1200 MW per two units. The first unit is scheduled to go into production in 2023 and the second unit in October 2024.

Besides, Padma Bridge, the dream project of the country, has been implemented during the tenure of this government. The initial construction work of the bridge was completed on its own funds on December 10, the day the 41st span of the bridge was installed and the bridge became fully visible.

According to the government, all types of vehicular movement on the bridge will start from June 2022, as a result, 21 districts of the southern region will connect with the capital. This will also increase the economic activities and the country’s GDP by 1.2 percent.

After the Padma Bridge, another important development project of this government is the Karnaphuli Tunnel. The 3.5 km long tunnel is being constructed under the Karnaphuli River to connect Anwara with Chattogram city based on 1 city-2 Town Model. Already 61 percent of work has been completed by December. The excavation and ring installation work has also been completed between two tubes of about 2.5 km under the riverbed. The work of installing an electrical substation in the tunnel has been completed too. The excavation work of the second tube has started on December 12.

Metro Rail, another mega-project of the government to improve the communication system. The construction work of the country’s first metro rail was inaugurated on 26 June 2016. The overall progress of the project till November is 53.58 percent. The city dwellers will travel by metro rail before December 2022.

Considering the strategic importance of economic, political and geographical location, the government is constructing a deep-sea port at Matarbari in Maheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar. The first cargo ship arrived at the port on December 29. 

Besides, the Matarbari power project is being implemented during the tenure of this government. The construction of the power plant is expected to be completed by December 2023.

The power project is being constructed on 1,414 acres of land in Matarbari and Dhalghata UP. The coal-powered power plant will be built with ultra-supercritical technology. The project will include the installation of two steam turbines with a capacity of 600 MW, a circulating cooling water station, a 275m high chimney and a water purification system. 

A 6 km naval channel will be made in the river for importing coals. Besides, a jetty will be constructed for coal loading and unloading. A coal yard will also be set up for its storage. Besides, the construction of Chakaria-Matarbari 132 KV transmission line and a substation with 132/33 KV capacity will be constructed under township construction, village electrification and rural electrification works.

There are plans to import coal from Australia and Indonesia to prevent environmental pollution.

Then there is – Payra Power Plant. Bangladesh is the 10th country in the world to build a coal-based Ultra Super Critical Power Plant. The total generation capacity of the plant is 1320 MW with two units of 660 MW each. The first unit will be fully connected to the national grid from May 15. The second unit has so far supplied 230 MW to the national grid. It will be possible to generate 660 MW of electricity in the next few days, the government said.  

Apart from these, impossible tasks like the exchange of enclaves, sea conquest and sending Bangabandhu Satellite into space have been made possible during the ruling party’s tenure. Bangladesh’s development in the education sector is also enviable.