By Mizan Rahman Dhaka
Criticising the World Bank for its fund withdrawal from the Padma Bridge project, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday international agencies which brought false allegations have now realised that no conspiracy against the people of Bangladesh will work.
“They’ve now got such a lesson that no one will be able to conspire anymore to force Bangalees to bow down. Our goal is to move the country forward and we’re working tirelessly to this end,” she said.
The prime minister was speaking after formally handing over the Independence Award, 2017, to the recipients and their representatives at a function at the capital’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
In February this year, a court in Canada acquitted three business executives of the charges that SNC-Lavalin Group Inc staff had planned to bribe Bangladesh officials in a bid to win a $50mn contract to supervise the Padma Bridge construction.
“The Federal Court of Canada in its verdict said the allegation was false, fabricated and fake, and there was no base behind the accusation. Such verdict of the court has further brightened Bangladesh’s image in the international arena,” she said.
The prime minister said her government had earlier announced to build the Padma Bridge project with its own fund and the work is going on in full swing.
At the programme, she handed over the Independence Award 2017, the highest State award, to Bangladesh Air Force and 15 personalities for their outstanding contributions at national level.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has been working tirelessly so that the country could celebrate its golden jubilee of Independence in 2021 keeping its head high and with dignity.
“Obviously, we don’t want to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our Independence begging from others with the begging basket in hand...we’re moving ahead and we’ll continue to move ahead. We no longer need to depend on others as now we’ve attained the capacity to implement 90% of our Annual Development Programme with our own funding,” she said.
Extending her heartiest felicitation to the awardees Hasina said: “You’re such personalities whom could be replicated by others and I think those who want to build and develop their lives, could follow your path. We want to build a dynamic society with your merits and talents. We want that our future successors will also be groomed in such a way.”
Reaffirming her resolve to turn Bangladesh into a hunger- and poverty-free middle-income country by 2021 and a prosperous one in South Asia by 2041, Hasina also expressed her firm optimism that those who will assume office in the future will carry forward the government’s stride to attain the goal.
“Bangladesh was supposed to be a secular country ensuring the people of all faiths to enjoy the equal rights and get their basic rights like food, shelter, clothes, education, treatment, but it was then guided to a totally different way, pushing it backwards,” the Prime Minister said.
Besides, she said, ill-efforts were made to distort the history of the Liberation War.
Highlighting the successes and development that the country attained over the last eight years, Hasina said the poverty rate has now came down to 22% and efforts are on to further reduce it by another 7%.
The GDP growth rate will further be boosted in the coming days from the present level of 7.11%, while the size of the budget has been increased manifold apart from raising the salaries and allowances of pubic servants by 123%.
Hasina today handed over the Independence Award 2017, the highest state award, to Bangladesh Air Force and 15 distinguished personalities including 1971 veterans.
The premier handed over a certificate, an 18-carat gold medal weighing 50gm and a 3,00,000 taka cheque to each of the recipients and their representatives.
The award was given in recognition of their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.
Group Captain (retired) Shamsul Alam, former Radio Bangladesh official Ashraful Alam, former police superintendent late Shaheed Mohamed Nazmul Huq, former minister late Syed Mohsin Ali, Shaheed NM Nazmul Ahsan, Shaheed Faizur Rahman Ahmed and Bangladesh Air Force were given the Independence Award 2017 for their outstanding contribution to the War of Liberation.
The others who received the award for contribution to their respective fields are Prof Dr AHM Touhidul Anowar Chawdhury (medical science), Rabeya Khatun (literature), late Golam Samdani Quraishi (literature, posthumous), Prof Dr Enamul Huq and Ustad Bazlur Rahman Badal (culture), Khalil Kazi (social service), Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan (research & training) and late Prof Lalit Mohan Nath (research & training, posthumous) and Prof Mohamed Asaduzzaman (public administration).
On behalf of Bangladesh Air Force, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar received the award from the prime minister.
On behalf of Shaheed Nazmul Haque, his son Engineer Shahidul Islam Haque, on behalf of Syed Mohsin Ali his wife Syeda Saira Mohsin, MP, on behalf of Shaheed Nazmul Ahsan his younger brother MN Sadrul Ahsan, on behalf of Shaheed Faizur Rahman Ahmed his daughter Sufia Khatun, on behalf of late Golam Samdani Quraishi his son Golam Yazdani Quraishi and on behalf of late Prof Lalit Mohan Nath his wife Arati Nath received the award from the prime minister.
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