Dhaka, Bangladesh
Govt working for air connectivity with world megacities: PM

Deal with US comes as a propeller

Govt working for air connectivity with world megacities: PM

News Report Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Thursday said her government has given a special thrust on establishing air connectivity with big cities of different countries, as the aviation industry is opening up after a lockdown. A just-concluded air-service deal with the United States is seen as a propeller for the national airlines to spread its wings wider to boost travels and trade. “We are holding talks so that our Biman can get access of flying to different countries and have been working to upgrade Biman in every aspect such as its security and services,” she said, referring to Wednesday’s deal with the US in this connection. The premier also said her government is making necessary laws as demanded by the international organisations so that Bangladesh Biman can fly to different countries and, likewise, aeroplanes of other countries can enter Bangladesh. She was inaugurating the newly constructed “Pani Bhaban”, a 13-storey “Parjatan Bhaban”, the headquarters of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) at Sher-e-Banglanagar, Agargoan, “Mural” of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in front of Shahjalal International Airport and “Bangabandhu Corner” inside the airport, getting connected virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence. In the function, the prime minister also laid foundation stone of the construction works of Sylhet International Airport Extension Project (phase-1). Concerned ministers and officials got connected from the Ganabhaban, Pani Bhaban (Bangladesh Water Development Board) in the city’s Green Road, and Osmani International Airport, Sylhet, through a videoconferencing. The premier greeted the officials concerned as Bangladesh and US governments on Wednesday signed Air Service Agreement that will pave the way for resuming direct air connectivity between Dhaka and different cities in the USA. Referring to the adding of 13 modern aircraft to the Biman fleet during the tenure of her government, she said, “Since we have purchased some Boeing Biman planes, we have a desire to develop direct air connectivity with different countries from Dhaka such as Dhaka-Tokyo and Dhaka to other countries.” The premier said her government has taken different initiatives to develop the air connectivity with different countries through understandings. Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh would be the most ideal place to make a bridge between the East and the West due to its geographical location and having position in the international air routes if the country could be developed in such a way. “If we can take the advantage of the huge potential of Bangladesh’s geographical location in making bridge between the East and the West, we can earn huge money from the tourism sector as well the airlines,” she continued. In this connection, she recalled Bangabandhu’s desire to build Bangladesh as the Switzerland of the East, saying that all the European countries have to use Switzerland for going from one part to another of the Europe. Spelling out various programmes taken by her government for the development of the aviation sector, she said that after assuming office in 1996, they have built Chattogram Airport and upgraded it to the international level, established Sylhet airport as an international one and made Dhaka airport as a modern one with building all necessary infrastructures, including boarding bridge area. The prime minister said her government has taken measures to make the Syedpur Airport as a regional one which Nepal, Bhutan and even India can use. In this regard, she said the government is upgrading the Sylhet Airport so that other countries can use it alongside Bangladesh. Besides, the government has been working to develop the Cox’s Bazar Airport as an international one to tap the huge potential of tourism as the world’s largest sandy beach of 80 miles is there. Besides, the government has been resuming the already closed inland airports such as Barishal and Syedpur airports, she said, adding that Syedpur airport has been operating in full swing. State Minister for Water Resources Ministry Zaheed Farooque, MP, State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Md Mahbub Ali, it’s Senior Secretary Md Mohibul Haque and Senior Secretary of Water Resources Ministry Kabir Bin Anwar spoke on the occasion as they got connected from the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and the Water Bhaban sides. State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Ministry Dr Md Enamur Rahman, MP, and Deputy Minister for Water Resources Ministry AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem, MP, joined the function from the Water Bhaban. PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus moderated the function from the Ganabhaban. A video presentation on the development schemes was screened at the function. Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken initiatives to construct pipelines so the jet fuel can directly reach the Shajalal International Airport. The Prime Minister said the government has been working to establish infrastructures of the air, road, water and railways, adding, “The country’s economy and development will get pace and the communication will be more easier for the people.” In this connection, she said Father of the Nation Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had created Biman Bangladesh Airlines within 19 days since Bangladesh became independent and Bangladesh Biman started its journey in 1972 with Dakota Biman. Bangabandhu made the rare instance in the world by establishing airlines with the shortest possible time after his country became independent, she continued. “But, Bangabandhu didn’t do much as he along with most of his family members except me and my younger sister were assassinated on August 15,1975,” she said. Pointing finger at the then BNP government, she said after assuming office they didn’t take any initiative to make further progress of the aviation sector rather made quick buck by purchasing aeroplanes and utilized the facilities which Bangabandhu had developed. The Prime Minister asked all concerned to take measures to preserve water bodies for enhancing the use of surface water instead of using underground water alongside protecting biodiversity and increasing fish production and ensure safe water for all. “All the canals, beels, haors, ponds and rivers across the country should be preserved in a proper manner mainly to protect biodiversity and balance of the nature, boost fish production and meet the growing demand of water,” she said. The use of surface water will help stopping the use of underground water and thus protect biodiversity and environment which is good for health also. To this end, she said her government has taken various plans and has been implementing those. Mentioning that her government has given utmost importance to ensuring safe water and sanitation, she said, “Supplying safe drinking water to the people is our target.” The premier said the government has taken various plans to supply safe water up to Upazila and Union levels by treating river water mostly. The people of the country, particularly Dhaka dwellers, have got rid of acute crisis of safe drinking water that was created during the BNP regime, she continued. Referring to the fire at Bashundhara Shopping Complex that at was doused after taking water from Sonargaon Peapacific Hotel, the Prime Minister came down heavily on the BNP government for constructing box-culvert instead of preserving water bodies. She said once upon a time the Panthapath Road was a canal and it had huge water bodies around the area, but no initiative was taken to preserve the water bodies at that time. In this regard, she said, her government has been taking every project keeping in mind the preservation of the water bodies that helps harvesting rain water. The Prime Minister expressed her desire to visit the Water Bhaban after the coronavirus pandemic. She said the country’s economy keeps moving utilizing the digitization as her government made Bangladesh a digital one as her party Awami League pledged to do so in the 2008 election manifesto. With BSS, media inputs

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