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Padma Bridge to be completed by 2018: PM

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Dhaka: Terming the allegation of corruption in the Padma Bridge project a conspiracy against her government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday reiterated that the construction of the dream bridge will be completed by 2018."Construction of the dream project (Padma Bridge) will be completed by 2018 as the river training and construction works on the bridge are going to begin simultaneously," she said.The prime minister was addressing Shudhi Samabesh (civic rally) after the inauguration of a number of projects for Tungipara and Kotalipara upazilas of Gopalganj. Gopalganj district administration arranged the rally.Bangladesh has already signed a deal with China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited for the construction of the main structure of the 6.15-km Padma Bridge.Without mentioning any individual or organisation’s name, Hasina said they had spread lies against her government bringing the allegation of corruption in this project. "We challenged it, and now it has been proved their allegation was baseless and intentional," she said.Hasina went on to say, "The allegation against our government over Padma Bridge was a conspiracy against us. We finally rejected their financial offer and announced that the bridge will be built with our own resources."She said there is a section of people in the country who do not like the government's development activities. "They always try to find faults and imperfection in our activities."The prime minister said television channels and air conditioned rooms are their preferred places from where they throw their criticisms against the government. "We’ve allowed those private television channels and helped them to stay alive through providing uninterrupted power supply.""They have got crazy for power, but don't have the quality to go to people and win their c support," she said branding them as the friends and bootlickers of the anti-liberation forces and ghosts for Yahia.Hasina said though her government allowed private TV channels and provided electricity, there is a section of people who always criticize the government sitting from the TV channels.Expressing her firm resolve to make Bangladesh a self-reliant country, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh would certainly stand on its own feet. “And the nation will be built as a modern, educated one. We would not beg from others.”Turing to the recent flood onslaughts in different northern districts, the Prime Minister assured that her government will construct houses for those who have lost their homes in the flooding.Reiterating her party's election commitment to reach electricity to every house, she said her government has initiated a massive programme to materialise the vision. Under the programme, she said, a nuclear power plant is being constructed and projects have been taken for the generation of power from coal, biogas and 30 lakh solar panels.Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken numerous steps for creating residential facilities for rural areas alongside constructing flats for urban people. "Gradually, residential flats will be constructed in every union," she said adding that there will come a day when there will be no thatched house in the country.Earlier, the prime minister arrived here on a daylong visit in the morning.Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki, AL's religious affairs secretary Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and local AL leaders spoke on the occasion.Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated power connections to 12,000 families of 55 villages under the Tungipara and Kotalipara upazilas, Tungipara 5-KVA Power Sub-Station, 30-kilowatt solar panel at Tungipara Upazila Parishad Building, a 39-meter Guarder Bridge on Razapur Kheyaghat-Jaharerkandi Road, a 17- metre RCC Guarder Bridge on Purba Latenga-Pashchim Latenga Road and a 30.05-meter Guarder Bridge on Bandhabari Union Parishad-Bhai Bhai Bazar Road under Kotalipara upazila and Tungipara Upazila Sonali Bank Bhaban.The Prime Minister also attended a milad and doa mahfil at the Mazar Complex of Bangabandhu.