Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a swipe at opposition parties in the country, quipping that those who turn a blind eye to the government's development initiatives should consider seeking medical attention.
After inaugurating the long-awaited Dohazari-Cox's Bazar railway on Saturday, she said, "I'm aware that our opposition leaders often fail to acknowledge our development endeavours, and they have nothing constructive to say. What can I say to those who are willfully blind?"
"I have a suggestion for them -- we've established a state-of-the-art eye institute in Dhaka. Even those with impaired vision can visit this modern facility and get their eyes checked. It costs only Tk 10. In reality, it's not their eyes' fault -- it's a matter of perspective."
During the inauguration of the 102 km-long railway, the prime minister ceremonially initiated the maiden train journey by blowing the whistle and waving a green flag. She then took the train to Ramu, completing the journey in around 25 minutes.
Highlighting the transformative impact of the new rail link on the country's tourism, Hasina expressed pride and happiness for the people of Bangladesh, noting that the integrated rail system will connect the northern regions to Cox's Bazar.
Reflecting on the significant changes in Bangladesh over the last 15 years, Hasina urged travellers to use the railways with care, emphasising her government's focus on providing low-cost travel for ordinary people.
"We have built a modern, clean rail station [in Jhilongja]. Keep the station clean. Treat it like it's your own asset and use it with care."
The inauguration of the long-awaited rail link to Cox's Bazar along with the spectacular seashell-shaped station, comes amid rising political tensions in the country.
The BNP and like-minded opposition groups are pressing for the Awami League administration to be replaced by a non-partisan caretaker government ahead of the upcoming national elections.
To press home their demand, the BNP has enforced several rounds of transport blockades, resulting in numerous cases of vehicle arson and vandalism.
Hasina criticised the violence perpetrated during the opposition group's anti-government campaign and denounced those involved in destructive acts.
"These assailants not only lack vision but also harbour dark minds. Everyone should be cautious about them. While we focus on creation, they resort to destruction. However, such destructive actions cannot be tolerated."