Padma Multipurpose Bridge

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    • Bangladesh’s Padma Multipurpose Bridge was recently inaugurated.

    More about Padma Multipurpose Bridge:

    • The Padma Multipurpose Bridge is a multipurpose road-rail bridge across the Padma River in Bangladesh.
    • It connects to Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the southwest of the country, to the northern and eastern regions. 
    • The Padma Bridge is considered to be the biggest and most challenging infrastructure asset ever created in Bangladesh. 
    • Significance:
      • Characteristics:
        • The main bridge is 6.15 km long — 9.83 km in all, including the road and rail viaducts at the two ends — and 21.65 m wide. 
        • It is high enough for the largest vessels to pass underneath.
      • Distance:
        • It will dramatically cut the road distance between Dhaka and cities to its west such as Khulna, Jessore, and Barisal
        • Once the railway line on the bridge is opened, Dhaka could come within three-and-a-half hours of Kolkata.
          • It will potentially revolutionize trade and communication with India.
      • Economic:
        • The bridge is expected to give an unprecedented boost to communications, trade, and the economy of Bangladesh as a whole.
        • GDP growth:
          • The government estimates GDP to increase by 1.23 percent.
      • Connectivity:
        • By providing road and rail links between the country’s relatively less-developed southwest and the more developed east, the bridge will lead to greater integration of regional markets.
      • Construction:
        • The Padma Bridge has been built by the China Major Bridge Engineering Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Group.

    Padma River:

    • The Padma is a major river in Bangladesh
    • It is the main distributary of the Ganges.
    • The Padma River is known for heavy bank erosion, shifting channels, and sandbars that continually emerge in its course. 
    • Origin & course:
      • The Ganges branches into two distributaries, the Hooghly and the Padma at Giria in the Murshidabad district of India.
      • The Padma enters Bangladesh from India near Nawabganj and meets the Jamuna (the name of the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh) near Aricha and retains its name.
      • It then meets with the Meghna near Chandpur and adopts the name “Meghna”.
    • Tributaries: 
      • Its main tributary is the Mahananda.
      • Its principal distributary is the Madhumati (called the Garai in its upper course). 
    • Mouth:  
      • Bay of Bengal
    • Issues due to Farakka Barrage:
      • After the construction of the Farakka Barrage on the Ganges River in West Bengal, the maximum flows in the Padma River were reduced significantly. 
      • The flow reduction caused many problems in Bangladesh: 
        • Loss of fish species,
        • Drying of Padma’s distributaries,
        • Increased saltwater intrusion from the Bay of Bengal,
        • Damage to the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans.

    Source: PIB