Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said her government will do everything necessary to ensure the civic and democratic rights of the people.
“We’ll do whatever necessary to ensure the civic and democratic rights of the people upholding the rule of law,” she said while addressing the nation marking the second anniversary of the incumbent government.
Sheikh Hasina formed the government for the third consecutive term after her party Awami League’s landslide victory in the 11th parliamentary polls held on December 30, 2018.
The incumbent government completed its two years and stepped into the third year as the new cabinet was formed on January 7, 2019.
Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar simultaneously broadcast the Prime Minister’s speech from 7:30pm.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has successfully tackled the rise of militancy with iron hands. Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony, she said. “People of all religion and castes have been living here maintaining mutual tolerance and will do so in the future as well.”
The Prime Minister urged the countrymen to remain vigilant so that the existing pace of the country’s development is not hampered.
“Now, Bangladesh is marching forward fast along the highway of development. You all will have to keep your vigilant eyes so that it can no way be obstructed. We’re determined to remove all obstacles from the development journey,” she said.
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No corrupt person to be spared
The Prime Minister said some unscrupulous people are always making efforts to misappropriate the wealth of the people using various underhand tactics.
Noting that her government has taken a strong stand against corruption, she said: “The corrupt aren’t being spared and they won’t be in the future irrespective of their political affiliation or how powerful they are.”
She said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been performing its duty independently in this regard.
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Bangladesh earns self-dignity in last 12 years
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has established itself in the global stage as a country having self-dignity in her last 12-year rule.
“Bangladesh achieved tremendous development in the socio-economic and infrastructure sectors,” she said, adding that we are the 9th strongest economy in the list of 66 emerging economies, according to the Economist’s 2020 report.
Bangladesh will become the 24th largest economy in the world within 2030 as per the projection of World Economic Forum, she noted.
She said Bangladesh will become an upper-middle-income country by 2031 and a high-income, prosperous and dignified country by 2041. Bangladesh graduated as a developing country before 2021, she said.
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Sheikh Hasina said she thinks that it is their duty and responsibility as the government of the people to improve the living standard of the country’s citizens. “It’s up to you to evaluate what we’ve done for the people in the last 12 years,” she said.
She noted that her government formulated the country’s 2nd Perspective Plan 2021-2041 as a strategic document of the Vision 2041 and recently approved the 8th Five-Year Plan 2021-2025 as well as the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.
The Prime Minister said it was projected that some Tk 64,959.8 billion to be required to implement the 8th Five-Year Plan. Poverty rate will come down to 15.6 percent, while the extreme poverty rate will fall to 7.4 percent following the implementation of the plan.
Besides, the implementation of the Prime Minister’s 10 initiatives will continue simultaneously to help alleviate poverty, she said.
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“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, our economy is moving in the right direction,” Sheikh Hasina said focusing on the implementation progress of different mega projects.
Noting that 82 percent work of the Padma Bridge has been completed, she said hopefully, it’ll be possible to open the bridge to traffic next year.
She said the works of other mega projects are going on in full swing as well. Rail tracks have been installed in the 14-km Uttara-Agargaon portion of the metro-rail project and trains for the route will come soon from Japan.
Sheikh Hasina said 80 percent work of the 1,200-megawatt first unit of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the country’s biggest project involving Tk 113,000 crore, has already been completed. It’ll be possible to supply electricity from the unit within the stipulated time of April 2023, she said.
The works of Karnaphuli tunnel project is going on fast and 62 percent of its works have already been completed.
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She said her government added some 19,000MW to the national grid since 2009 and now the daily power generation capacity stands at 24,421MW.
Some 99 percent people of the country now enjoy electricity facilities, which was only 47 percent in 2005-06 fiscal year, she said adding that cent percent people will come under the electricity coverage during the Mujib Year and the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is now a self-sufficient country in food production, Bangladesh has become the world’s third-largest rice-producer and the second-largest inland water fish producer. Bangladesh is also self-sufficient in production of fish-meat, egg, vegetables, she said.
In line with her party’s electoral pledge to extend urban facilities to the rural areas, she said the government developed 63,655km rural roads, constructed 3,76000 bridges-culverts, 1,685 union parishad complexes, 936 cyclone shelter centres and 249 upazila complexes.
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Besides, 453km highway was upgraded into four-lane since 2009 and works to upgrade another 661km of highways into four or above lanes continue.
In her 30-minute speech, she also focused her government’s development activities in different sectors including health, social safety net, railway, aviation and ICT.
Covid-19 and vaccine
Prime Minister Hasina said the country had to go through a major crisis in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Besides, cyclone Amphan and successive floods also adversely affected the economy.
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But the government has been able to overcome these blows firmly, she said.
Noting that Covid-19 infection and mortality rates are still low in Bangladesh, she said, “We’ve been making all-out efforts to keep this pandemic under control.”
Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus cases on March 8 and the first death on March 18. Until Thursday morning, the country has recorded 519,905 cases and 7,718 fatalities.
Sheikh Hasina said the people were with her government during this difficult time. “You’ve given us full cooperation to face this disaster. I hope that we’ll find you beside us in facing any such situation in the future as well,” she said.
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She said the government continues all sorts of efforts to import Covid-19 vaccines soon. They will be given to the frontline fighters including doctors, health workers, members of law enforcement agencies on a priority basis.
‘Take effective steps to resolve Rohingya crisis‘
The Prime Minister urged the international community to take more effective measures over the repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
She said the government continues all sorts of effort to send back some 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas peacefully to their homeland.
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Bangladesh constructed high-quality abodes in Bashan Char for 100,000 Rohingyas to ease their sufferings in Cox’s Bazar camps. Only the Rohingya refugees who are willing to live there are being sent, she added.
Golden jubilee celebration depends on virus situation
Sheikh Hasina said the golden jubilee of Independence will be celebrated on a large scale if the coronavirus situation improves at that time.
The coronavirus outbreak forced the government to call off large scale ‘Mujib Borsho’ programmes to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It also had to scale down or cancel various other programmes to tackle the spread of the virus.
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In her speech, the Prime Minister urged the people of the country to take a fresh vow to build Bangladesh as a poverty-hunger-illiteracy-free non-communal welfare country as dreamt by the Father of the Nation, upholding the spirit and ideology of the Liberation War.