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Bangabandhu took revolutionary steps to uplift communication, power

By Sajjad Hossain Sabuj

DHAKA, Aug 12, 2017 (BSS) - Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had taken revolutionary measures for the development of communication and power sectors in war-ravaged Bangladesh.

His steps for the development of road communication included a plan for the construction of a bridge on the mighty Jamuna river.

To this end, a commission formed at the initiative of Bangabanadhu had conducted a preliminary feasibility study on November 4 in 1974.

Bangladesh's communication network was almost ruined during the Liberation War in 1971. After assuming office, the Bangabandhu government had given utmost importance to the communication sector side by side with other areas of development.

The Father of the Nation, by 1974, reconstructed 274 road bridges that were destroyed during the Liberation War and built 97 new road bridges during the period.

The big bridges on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway were constructed during the tenure of Bangabandhu government. The 295 damaged railway bridges and 16 mile broad gauge and 63 mile meter gauge rail lines were operational at that time.

The flight operations of Bangladesh Biman started on Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Sylhet, Dhaka-Jessore and Dhaka-Comilla routes by March 7 in 1972.

The national flag carrier operated its first international flight on Dhaka-London route on June 18 in 1973.

The construction work of the Kurmitola International Airport (now Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport) began during Bangabandhu's regime.

The country's premier seaport in Chittagong was functional again within one year of independence.

The Bangabandhu government, with the cooperation of the then Soviet Union, removed sunken ships and mines from the seaport at that time.

The Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC), which was constituted at the directives of Bangabandhu, procured 14 oceangoing ships, including coasters, by December 1974.

The Bangabandhu government took initiatives for restoration of the telecommunication network which almost went out of order during the Liberation War.

Bangabandhu made arrangements for making functional 55,000 telephone lines across the country by December 1974.

The Bangabandhu government set up Betbunia Earth Satellite, the first of its kind in the country, in Chittagong Hill Tracts for linking the country's telecommunication network with the outside world.

The Bangabandhu government has also achieved huge successes in generating and distributing electricity. The power stations across the country were destroyed during the Liberation War.

Power distribution lines and poles were completely damaged in many places plunging the country into darkness.

There was no stock of electric poles at the warehouses of the country after the independence, and in such a situation, Bangabandhu imported 5,000 poles from abroad. His government also installed 1,500 kilometres power lines by December 1972.

As a result, the country's power generation capacity rose to 500 megawatts in December 1972 from 200 MW of January that year.

At the directive of Bangabandhu, a masterplan was drafted in 1973 for expanding rural electrification programme across the country.