Children walk on a widened and rebuilt asphalt road in a village in Barguna, Bangladesh, July 26, 2022. (Xinhua)
DHAKA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — Residents of Choto Ankujanpara village, a small riverside village in southern Bangladesh, erupted in cheers and applause as their narrow, unpaved street was rebuilt and widened with materials bituminous by PowerChina Barisal Electric Power Company Limited (BEPCL), a joint venture of Chinese and Bangladeshi companies.
On the day the reconstruction was completed, the villagers walked on the new asphalt road and gave a thumbs up. They took photos and posted them on social media to share happiness with friends.
“PowerChina is a responsible Chinese company. Thank you for fixing the road for us to solve the long-term obstacle to our journey,” Rezbi-ul Kabir, chairman of Taltali Upazila sub-district, told Xinhua.
Taltali Upazila sub-district is located in Barguna district in the southern division of Barisal, some 180 km south of Dhaka, where the Chinese company has built a 350 megawatt power plant with its local partner.
“It is a path to prosperity for our village. From now on, it will be more convenient for us to sell agricultural products in the town,” Kabir said.
He said the old road could only accommodate one car and was muddy during the rainy season, making it difficult to drive and walk.
“Road conditions were terrible in the past,” said a villager named Abul Hussein. He said they used to collect money from each family to repair the road, but it always came back in terrible condition every time during the rainy season.
“After being informed of the local people’s demand, PowerChina Barisal Electric Power Company Limited (BEPCL) has assumed its social responsibility for the locality by immediately dispatching engineering technicians to inspect the site and actively communicating with the local government at about the solution,” said Shi Weiti, deputy director of BEPCL’s engineering technology department.
The company allocated the money, planned the construction, and sent machinery and technical personnel to guide the construction. After more than two months of intense work, the dilapidated road has been replaced with a new straight and flat asphalt road, easing transportation inconveniences, he said.
Local residents called the rebuilt road “the road to safety, prosperity and happiness.”
Villager Sabita runs a roadside tea stand. She is happy because her business is growing after the road reconstruction. “Our store sells snacks, drinks and fruits. Before, because the road was terrible, only a few families nearby came to buy things here, and we had trouble replenishing our stock,” she said.
After the road was repaired, Sabita’s store gradually became busy with more people coming to shop. She set up a shed next to the tea stand for the villagers to rest and chat. As a result, she said her income increased several times than before.
Sabita’s husband, Md. Shah-Jalal, is a welder at the power plant. According to Sabita, her husband has worked at the factory for three years and is now the leader of a team of welders, and they have just moved into the brick house they built six months ago.
She thanked PowerChina for helping them have better living conditions. “I want to send our children to study in China when they grow up,” said Sabita, who has two children at school.
“We are in the southernmost part of Bangladesh with inconvenient means of transportation. Our villagers lived only from farming and fishing and many of them had no chance to see the outside world,” Kabir said.
He said the power station has not only provided many jobs but also attracted many people to come and do business here. In its Belt and Road projects, PowerChina has always adhered to localized operations, serving the livelihoods of local people, and deeply integrated with the country’s local economic and social development.
During the construction of the project, PowerChina Barisal Power Plant employed a total of more than 5,000 local technical workers, provided mentoring and apprenticeship trainings, and booked and trained a large group of professional technical talents for the locality. ■
Photo taken on July 26, 2022 shows a widened and rebuilt asphalt road in a village in Barguna, Bangladesh. (Xinhua)