Bangladeshis benefit from Chinese assisted friendship bridges

China has assisted to build 6 friendship bridges to Bangladesh since 1980s. For a riverine country, the bridges are playing a very important role in developing the local economy and promoting the life of the local people.

The 6th Friendship Bridge is situated in Munshiganj district, 37 km southeast of the capital Dhaka. It is built over Dhaleswari river, a tributary of Meghna river, one of the three major rivers in Bangladesh.

The construction of the bridge, with the length of 1,521 meters and width of 10 meters, started in April 28, 2005 after inauguration in Jan. 27, 2005 and opened to public in Feb. 18, 2008.

During the site visit to the 6th Friendship Bridge recently, Azizul Alam, administration chief of Munshiganj district, told Xinhua the opening of the bridge has helped the local economic, social and cultural development.

“I, on behalf of the people of Munshiganj, want to express our sincere thanks to the Chinese government and the Chinese people for building the bridge in the district,” he said.

Alam said Munshiganj used to be surrounded by rivers which prohibited the development of local economy. “Building a bridge was a dream of the local people. Chinese helped us turn the dream into a reality,” he said.

Alam said, “Agriculture is the economic pillar of Munshiganj district which is famous for vegetable growing, especially potato growing. Before the bridge was constructed, the agricultural products were difficult to be transported outside the district for the inconvenience of water transportation.”

“After the opening of the bridge, more and more agricultural products are sold in Dhaka, which not only brings more income to local farmers and vegetable vendors, but also meets the demand of Dhaka residents for taking vegetables,” he said.

Alam said more than 20,000 people from Munshiganj district are working in Dhaka. “It used to take many hours from Munshiganj to Dhaka. The people working in Dhaka couldn’t come home every day so they had to rent houses in Dhaka. With the opening of the bridge, they can come back every day. It greatly reduces their life expenditure,” he said.

“Around 100 buses are shuttling from Munshiganj to Dhaka every day. It is very convenient for the local people,” he added.

Alam said after the opening of the bridge, more and more entrepreneurs come to Munshiganj to set up factories. “The investment has provided more job opportunities of the local people and also increased their incomes.” he said.

globaltimes