Seek apology, pay compensation: Momen on slanderers of Padma Bridge

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Momen in his speech expressed solidarity with the flood victims in Sylhet and other areas of Bangladesh and spoke in detail about the relief and rescue operations the government has been implementing…reports Sumi Khan

Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen has asked that those who made false corruption allegations against the Sheikh Hasina government over the Padma Bridge project must apologise and pay compensation.

“Under the courageous leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the historic Padma Bridge has been built with our funds and resources and now represents a nation on the road to self-reliance and prosperity,” said Momen while speaking as the chief guest at Bangladesh High Commission, London’s gala celebration titled “Padma Bridge: Milestone of a Decade of Growth and Prosperity” held on Monday in east London, the heart of British-Bangladeshi community.

Highlighting the significant economic growth that Bangladesh achieved in the past decade, the Foreign Minister added, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s timely and innovative initiatives made Bangladesh a self-sufficient country in staple crop production, which increased four-fold from 11 to 44 lakh tonne, and her business-friendly government boosted export earnings from $7-$8 million to $48 million. Apart from this, our economy gained a strong foothold during the pandemic as expatriate Bangladeshi, including from the UK and Ireland, remitted $25 billion to their homeland.”

Padma Bridge (Photo Twitter@RussEmbDhaka)

Momen in his speech expressed solidarity with the flood victims in Sylhet and other areas of Bangladesh and spoke in detail about the relief and rescue operations the government has been implementing since the recurrence of the natural disasters.

The Foreign Minister also said that he had discussed the latest flood situation as well as relief and rescue operations with the high-level government authorities and relevant ministries to ensure that the flood victims received adequate support.

Additionally, he had spoken with the Education Ministry about supplying textbooks to those districts where the school children lost their books to the flooding and gave assurances that they would be provided with new books.

Speaking on some problems facing expatriate Bangladeshis, the Minister added that he has suggested the ministries concerned to form a special tribunal to solve the disputes and cases relating to their land and property; and to ease further the security checks at the airports in Bangladesh, and issue passports in the shortest possible time.

High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem in her welcome remarks, said, “Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave us an independent nation in 1971. After 51 years, his visionary daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the historic Padma Bridge, which is a glorious symbol of Bangladesh’s self-reliance and self-respect and a milestone in the development and prosperity of Bangladesh towards Bangabandhu’s ‘Sonar Bangla’.”

The High Commissioner lauded the contributions of Bangladeshis living in the UK and Ireland to Bangladesh’s economy, including the Padma Bridge, by sending record remittances back home.

Expressing her deep solidarity with the flood-affected people in Bangladesh, including in Sylhet division, the envoy added, “Bangladesh High Commission has set up a helpline to provide the necessary information and emergency assistance to the expatriate Bangladeshis whose family members and relatives are affected by the flooding.”

“If anyone needs assistance for sending and distributing relief materials to the flood-affected areas, they can also communicate the High Commission through the helpline details which are available on the High Commission’s Facebook page,” she said.

Speaking on the occasion, Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, who is a British-Bangladeshi citizen, congratulated Sheikh Hasina and her government for building the Padma Bridge, which significantly improved the country’s communication infrastructure.

Commenting on natural disasters across the world, including the current floods in Bangladesh, the Mayor cited the statement of Sheikh Hasina delivered at the COP26 in November 2021 holding developed countries responsible for some of the climate-related incidents in Bangladesh.

He suggested Bangladesh government to continue its campaign so developed countries take responsibility for climate-related losses and damage.

A prominent British-Bangladeshi community member Jalal Uddin also spoke at the event, attended by more than 400 enthusiastic expatriate Bangladeshis who came from different cities and towns of the UK and Ireland to celebrate the inauguration of Padma Bridge.

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