Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the government is getting all the district hospitals ready with ICUs and oxygen supplies to provide healthcare services to people in the case of Covid-19 pandemic in the upcoming winter.
“The outbreak of Coronavirus began last winter. It may resurge in the upcoming winter. Keeping it in mind, we’re arranging all sorts of medical services, including setting up of ICUs and ensuring oxygen in every district hospital,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while formally opening the spectacular Itna-Mithamoin-Austagram all-weather road in Kishoreganj to traffic.
She inaugurated the 29.73–km beautiful road through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban in the capital.
Sheikh Hasina said the government instantly recruited some 2,000 doctors, 3,000 nurses and a good number of health technicians following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the government has been making all sorts of efforts to check the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
Sheikh Hasina said the government is setting up economic zones in different regions so that the local people can achieve financial solvency processing their produced goods there alongside job creation.
“While setting up special economic zones in a region, we’re paying attention to goods hugely produced there,” she said.
Since the Haor region is a source of huge fish, the government wants to develop relevant industries there to pave the way for cultivating, processing and marketing fish.
She said the government has a plan to develop food and other agriculture goods processing industries so that agriculture-dependent regions do not remain dependent on only farming.
“Rather their produced goods will be processed, marketed and exported from there ensuring financial gains for the local people,” she said, adding that her government has been implementing various programmes with that goal.
Hasina praised the quality of Panir (Cheese) produced in Austagram Upazila saying that it is an international-standard Panir. Since the connectivity road has been constructed, there’ll be no problem to market and export the cheese from the area.
Noting each Upazila has a locally-produced special item, she said the government is taking measures so that the people involved in the production of such goods will get fair prices in order to make them economically developed and enriched.
The Prime Minister said the government is setting up a university in Netrakona-Kishoreganj region.
“We want a university to be set up in every big district across the country so that students can pursue their higher education staying in their localities. We’ve taken this step,” she said.
Hasina stressed the need for education through the digital platform as the Covid-19 has badly affected the academic life of the country’s students.
The Prime Minister said the Sangsad TV having a countrywide terrestrial network has been dedicated to the education of the students in absence of the Jatiya Sangsad session.
About the connectivity, Hasina said the government has been strengthening the communication systems by developing the road network throughout the country, expanding the railway networks and making the waterways more operational. “So, the connectivity with different regions will be developed.”
When the connectivity is improved, the people of different regions will get the scope to transport their produced goods and be financially self-reliant.
She extended her sincere thanks to President Abdul Hamid for taking the initiative for the construction of the road.
“Hadn’t the President taken this initiative and us time and again, it would have remained of thinking that such a road could be constructed in this region (in the midst of Haor),” she said.
Hasina said she would like to visit the road soon once the Covid situation improves.
With the construction of the road, the protracted sufferings of the local people will go as they now can easily travel to and from Dhaka via Nasirnagar or Bhairab.
The road, constructed at a cost of Tk 874.08 crore, connects three upazilas of Kishoreganj -- Itna, Mithamoin and Austagram.
The Itna-Mithamoin-Austagram road goes straight through the vast haor area in parallel with Dhanu and Baulai rivers starting from Itna Upazila Sadar to Austagram via Mithamoin Upazila.
The road has already been turned into one of the most beautiful destinations for travellers, holidaymakers and thrill-seekers before its formal inauguration.
A large number of tourists flock regularly to the area to enjoy the scenic beauty of the road and its surrounding Haor areas.
Almost half of Kishoreganj district, including four of its six upazilas -- Itna, Mithamoin, Austagram, and Nikli -- is designated as a completely haor area, unique wetland ecosystems during the monsoon resemble vast inland seas.
In 2016, President Abdul Hamid inaugurated the construction work on the road in his ancestral district.
The road will also be connected to Sylhet-Brahmanbaria road in the future and a plan has been taken to build a flyover on it.
The road, popularly known as the ‘Haor Road’, paved the way for direct road connectivity between the haor region and other parts of the country, including Dhaka, Sylhet and Chattogram.
Later, the Prime Minister exchanged views with local people who were connected from Mithamoin Upazila. Local MPs and local dignitaries of Kishoreganj district were present at the Mithamoin end.
While exchanging views with local people, the PM said the road is a gift on behalf of President Abdul Hamid in the Mujib Borsha (Mujib Year).
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader delivered the welcome speech at the inaugural function conducted by PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus.
Road Transport and Highway Division Secretary Md Nazrul Islam made an audio-visual presentation on the road project.
The Roads and Highways Department implemented the road project that includes the 29.732-km main highway, three PC girder bridges, 11 RCC Girder bridges, 62 RCC box-culverts, Road protection dams and land acquisition.