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HOME  PAPER FOR PEOPLE 15

Most of the city roads still

remain dilapidated. Why?

How to get rid of the situation?

AVOIDING responsibility by stating ‘this is not my job for doing any community service, there is government to do this’ is a common attitude of Bangladeshis. Whenever something happens, we tend to avoid our accountability and place the responsibility on others’ shoulders. In Dhaka city, the conditions of the roads are disastrous! It has been like this for a very long time. Most of the roads are in a shabby condition. It creates humungous trouble for the people living in the city. However, the concerned government bodies and individuals are not acting responsibly to ensure maintenance of the roads. It is surprising or rather, shocking to see that the roads are being damaged day by day rather than improved.
The responsible people are not monitoring the overall situation. For instance, the roads are built with certain capacity, whereas, public are not aware of the fact and due to lack of monitoring, vehicles with excessive capacities run on the roads that are creating pressure on the roads. That is one of the reasons why the roads lose their sustainability!
In order to get rid of such disastrous conditions, the concerned law enforcement agency must be active in monitoring and evaluating the work of the people responsible for building and maintaining the roads. The chain of command must be maintained in such cases so that nobody can escape his/her duty! Vehicles should be allowed up to a certain limit to run on the roads.
Also, the concerned authority should strictly monitor and the concerned people responsible to ensure the maintenance must be aware of the rules and regulations. The continuous monitoring must be done in order to reassure the weight of the vehicles match the capacity of the roads.
Maintenance work of the roads must be done in the right season. As we see, mostly these are done during rainy seasons which don’t really help the situation. The awareness of the government and their relevant departments is vital in such cases.
Let us hope that we can build and maintain our roads in a safer manner for every citizen or resident in the country by ensuring safety, security and longevity.
Farah Naz Haque
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

***
WE SAY Bangladesh is becoming developed whereas we can find thousands of problems within capital Dhaka itself. There are problems with load shedding, water supply, CNG auto-rickshaw fares are too expensive. Another big problem is the dilapidated condition of the roads. But road and communication ministry gets a big budget for the infrastructure development of city roads. There are institutions working to solve these problems. But they remain inactive. Nobody is here to charge them.
We had observed during the last Eid vacation, that several dilapidated roads had been selected for maintenance work. Though it has been long since the media had identified some dilapidated roads in the capital, the authority has not taken any step effective enough to solve those problems.
Unplanned urbanisation is one of the most dangerous problems. For that, the same road is dug several times. Sometimes it is dug for gasoline and when the road is completed after a few months, WASA is present again to re-dig the road! So it seems like the development work is haphazard and absolutely unplanned. The system is not well defined and disorganised. There is a lack of coordination between different departments and ministries, which results in the poor condition of the roads.
Due to construction of flyovers, so many roads are now in a seriously worse condition. As the work is going at a slow speed, the general people are facing problems daily. During the rainy season, the suffering of people due to the dilapidated road condition gets aggravated. Some accidents also occur there causing more suffering to passengers of vehicles travelling on bad roads.
Though the government has completed its five year tenure, it has been unable to do some important work. Many of the city roads remain dilapidated.
I went to Uttara for a meeting once and become stunned that a place like Uttara doesn’t have proper, smooth roads. Maximum roads are dilapidated. This is also the case for posh areas like Gulshan, Banani, Shahjahanpur, Demra and Mirpur. As these areas are residential, roads must be constructed in a planned way and old ones repaired. The main hindrance is the corruption of the ministry. It is open secret that corruption is involved in this sector .Corruption must be uprooted completely; only then the full budget will be effectively utilised for road maintenance work. Anti corruption committee should enforce the law against the dishonest politicians and the construction companies involved in road work. The Anti-Corruption Commission is doing some tasks to prevent and curb corruption but that is not enough. The government should give them independence to take any step against those who are dishonest.
So it is high time to create awareness against corruption that is responsible for the dilapidated roads the city. We the city dwellers want a safe and sound road for our transport.
Anjan Saha
Bangladesh University of Textiles, Dhaka

***
The Dhaka City Corporation, which is a 150-year-old organisation, is responsible for ensuring rights and privileges of the city dwellers. But the reality is quite different. It has recently spurred many debates concerning growing irregularities and corruption in its management and administration. It is the duty of the DCC to ensure the transportation system for city dwellers. But we find that the authority is indifferent to this. There is about 1,838.145 kilometre road in Dhaka city. But most of the important roads are dilapidated so the city dwellers continue to suffer for dilapidated roads, lanes and by-lanes in different parts of the city. The sufferings become the worst during rainy season. Some roads are seen to remain under water all the season. It becomes difficult to ride on rickshaw especially it is quite risky for the poor, sick and pregnant women. A lot of accidents occur due to damaged roads. There are many reasons behind dilapidated condition of roads such as:
No repair work is done for a long period of time.
Digging roads again and again for several purposes.
Due to relocation and repair work by Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd and Power Grid company of Bangladesh.
Corruption by some DCC officials.
Digging the road during rainy season and leaving the work unfinished.
Handling of the local political goons especially those affiliated with high ups in power get involved with a section of DCC engineers and try to get the entire tender in a certain locality. As a result they don’t use adequate building materials making the roads less durable.
Lack of master plan for road construction.
Illegal transmission of heavy vehicles on the local roads.
Tyranny of terrorists demanding money to the contractors for which the contractors are compelled to use low standard materials for road construction.
IN spite of having a lot of problems we must try to improve this situation. DCC has to play a vital role to solve this problem. Some that can be taken are:
Regular monitoring system should be continued by the DCC.
Digging activities should be completed before the rainy season.
Corruption in this sector should be stopped.
Tenders have to be given without political influence.
Using of standard, high quality building materials.
Experienced and honest contactors have to be appointed.
Exemplary punishment should be given to the corrupted officials.
Strict laws should be enforced regarding road construction.
Besides these, the mass media should play an important role to make the authority and mass people conscious. At the same time people’s mindset should be changed and their sense of responsibility should be enhanced.
Sharif
Titumir Government College

***
THE conditions of the city roads have worsened which is a major problem that residents have to deal with in their daily life. The dangerous situation occurs when rain water conceals the potholes and pitfalls which result in accidents. This happens due to lack of proper planning. School going children and medical patients suffer most due to the dilapidated roads. In emergency conditions, ambulance service cannot reach in proper time. The city dwellers suffer due to dilapidated roads in different areas.
I am a resident of Nakhalpara area and I face difficulties commuting because of the uneven roads. The roads here are always in a very bad shape. Most of the residents do not know how many years ago the road had been last repaired. Some well known schools and colleges are situated here, that’s why many children use these roads everyday, which is very painful and risky for them. It is very painful to ride on rickshaws on these roads due to the jerks and bumps caused by potholes and uneven roads. During rainy season, it becomes very difficult to travel on these roads as these are full of potholes. The suffering dwellers are in need of immediate solutions for the problems. Engineers of both the Dhaka North City Corporation and The Dhaka South City Corporation try to improve the city’s different area’s roads, footpaths and surface level drains. I think the authority should take urgent steps now so that broken roads are repaired before the rainy season.
Our respectable ruling parities and opposition party leaders spend their time on fierce speeches and bashing the opposition parties. I am sure that people will be far more impressed by any government if they find the roads are well maintained. If they use some portion of time for the welfare of the people, their party will be more benefited. I hope City Corporation will be able to repair all the broken city roads without making any further delay and government should allocate adequate budgets for these sectors.
Avit Kumar Saha
Via e-mail

***
IF we raise a question to the common people about the communicating roadways in Dhaka city, I am pretty sure majority would be fed up to answer this question because our roadways are always dilapidated even if they have been newly constructed within few days after construction the road becomes the way it was before.
It is commonly seen that roads are damaged due to an adjoining flyover’s construction work; it is the city corporation’s duty to mend the roads but they just leave it the way it was before. Delays by the city corporations to fix roads right after utility works have also taken a toll on the daily activities of the people. Currently, about 90 percent of transport sector budgetary allocation is for road sector development, yet there are mostly damaged roads throughout the city. At least eleven roads in the city, including some main streets of the capital, are now in a dilapidated condition. These roads have become very risky for vehicular movement and are causing huge sufferings to the city dwellers. Not only that, the city dwellers are also experiencing immense traffic congestion everyday, as the vehicles cannot move fast on dilapidated streets. Worse still, road digging work that started at the fag-end of the just- concluded fiscal year has left many city streets almost unusable. The monsoon rains also worsen the condition of the dug-up roads. The city corporation is supposed to re-carpet the roads within 28 days after installing sewerage or water pipeline or telecom wires, but most of the dug-up roads have remain uncarpeted for months. Even if the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) did any work regarding repair of the roads, it did not last even a season due to low standard of the materials. Lack of coordination among the service providers of the capital is one of the main reasons behind this long-standing dilemma of the city dwellers. Engineering department of the DCC carries the construction; repairing and maintenance work of the city’s all primary and secondary roads while PWD does the project work. But these two bodies have little coordination between them. Corruption is also an important factor that has made the roadways dilapidated in Dhaka city. If the government takes a step forward and have a clearer look on the situation then we can get out of this problem because it’s only in the hands of the government.
Asif Azad Jisan
BRAC Business School
BRAC University, Dhaka

 
 

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