Make roads to last
That the inhabitants of the capital city Dhaka are bearing the brunt of the pitiable conditions of the roads, lanes and by-lanes is clearly evident everywhere. When a resident steps out of his/her residence, scores of cracks, potholes, ditches that have developed on the roads, will likely greet him/her in many places of this hapless city. It seems that the entire city has turned into a zone with dangers lurking everywhere. From Jatrabari, the southern fringe of the city, to Uttara, the northern fringe, from Basabo, the eastern fringe, to Gabtoli, the western fringe, everywhere the same precarious scenario is prevailing. Unplanned digging of roads repeatedly, and that too in the full rainy season, by the authorities of various utility services like WASA, Titas Gas, telephone organizations and electricity distribution organisations has aggravated the sufferings of the city-dwellers. Conditions of some of the roads in the city have become so perilous that those have become unfit for plying of vehicles. Due to continuous rain, carpeting, bricks and stone chips of many roads have been displaced making those hazardous for movement of vehicles. Traffic jam on these roads has become a regular menace and commuters have to remain stranded on these roads for hours together. This kills valuable time and taxes the patience of many commuters. Emergency patients on the way to hospitals and clinics are the worst sufferers. Besides, due to knee-deep water on many badly damaged roads caused by rain many vehicles become inoperative, exposing the commuters to a lot of sufferings. Every year the government allocates substantial budget for repairing of the city’s roads. As routine work many roads are repaired hastily. But after some weeks or months only the conditions of the roads revert to the previous positions. This kind of repair does not improve the conditions of the damaged roads at all on a durable basis. Use of substandard materials in repairing roads has become a chronic practice in our country. A section of contractors and engineers financially gain out of these projects but the sufferings of the taxpayers do not end. This is a sheer unacceptable drainage of state money. What is done in the name of repairing of roads is sheer cheating. This is not aimed at public welfare. The government should take up the road repairing issue seriously. Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina recently expressed concern over the faulty repairing of roads. She directed the relevant authorities to repair roads with rods, cement and concrete so that those can last for a long time. She told the authorities that a road paved with concrete has the prospects of longevity of even 25 years whereas the ones now being repaired with bitumen usually crumble within a year. In some cases such roads crumble within months of their repairs requiring repairing afresh. Apart from unending people’s suffering, this practice only contributes to sheer misspending of people’s money to line the pockets of a few. Thus, if the PM’s directive is executed, the roads will be durable, city-dwellers will enjoy its benefits and state money will not be wasted. We are confident that the PM is fully aware of the sufferings of the citizens and she is eager to provide them with relief and prevent squandering of public money. She has also identified the heart of the problem : deliberately keeping alive the scope for repeated repairing of the roads so that the unscrupulous ones can make money. We hope that the PM will now ensure that her directive would be heeded and the interest groups blocking the same frustrated completely in their scheming.