Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says that no one will be able to halt Bangladesh’s march towards development, adding that those who can’t see the country’s progress need to get their eyes tested.
The prime minister made the statement during an event celebrating the completion of the southern tube of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, which she joined through video conferencing on Saturday.
“Bangladesh is advancing,” she said. “We have kept in mind the Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. We have also implemented our plans for 2010 to 2020, and between 2021 and 2041, Bangladesh will become a developed and prosperous Golden Bangladesh.”
“That is why we are implementing the vision plan to build a developed and prosperous nation through the eighth five-year plan. No one can stop Bangladesh’s advancement,” she said.
The prime minister also ridiculed those who called the nation’s development into question.
“Many people don’t seem to be able to see our development,” she said. “Maybe their eyes are damaged. If you have eye problems, you should see a doctor. We have built an excellent eye institute for you. If you receive treatment there, I think our development will become clear.”
“But if someone has eyes and chooses to remain blind, there’s nothing we can do. I think we have a few of these people who have eyes but are still blind. They see but pretend not to because they have not been able to achieve anything on their own and will not be able to do anything in the future either. They will not be able to help the country.”
Hasina pointed to the BNP and its leaders Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman, saying: “When they are in power they will take and they will eat well. They will be able to smuggle, smuggle as many as 10 trucks loaded with weapons. They will be able to smuggle weapons, launder money, and embezzle orphans. That is what they can do.”
“They have never worked for the welfare of the people and will not do so in the future either. That is the truth of the matter,” she said.
Hasina said she was delighted to celebrate the completion of the south tube of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River.
“Once the work is complete on the second tube, we will open the entire tunnel,” she said.
The 3.32 km-long tunnel is the first under-river road tunnel in South Asia and is estimated to cost Tk 105.37 billion. A Chinese company was contracted for the construction. Hasina and China’s Xi Jinping inaugurated the construction of the tunnel in 2016. The tunnel boring was launched in 2019. China’s EXIM Bank has allocated Tk 59.13 billion in loans for the project.
Hasina also spoke of Bangladesh’s overall development at the event, saying “At least we can make one claim – that the Bangladesh of today is a changed Bangladesh. We are travelling the path that the Father of the Nation wanted to walk when leading an independent nation.”
She also pointed to poverty reduction as a notable success.
“I believe one day there will be no poverty in this country. We have been successful in efforts to alleviate it. Now no one has to cry out in hunger.”
Though many countries around the world are struggling in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh has not devolved into a crisis, according to the prime minister.
However, she urged people to cultivate all available land and conserve power, water and fuel.
Russia's war in Ukraine and the series of sanctions and counter-sanctions imposed as a result have hiked global prices, she said.
“Inflation is a major problem worldwide. We are not too far removed from its impact. We have felt the blow too. Despite this, Bangladesh has succeeded in maintaining the pace of its economy."