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Road digging cripples capital

Published : 13 Nov 2021 10:21 PM

Road digging and construction work in numerous parts of Dhaka city has virtually crippled the communication system of the capital. 

Many projects have been launched simultaneously making movement difficult throughout the city.

It has continued to cause major public sufferings in many areas mainly due to delays in execution of the projects and lack of coordination among the concerned entities.

City-dwellers expressed agony regarding some road projects that started months back but were left unfinished leading to huge traffic congestions, accidents as well as business losses.

Junaid Alam, a resident of Tejgoan told Bangladesh Post that they had been suffering for over two months due to road digging. 

“Multiple roads have been dug for way too long. We have no idea what the project is or when it would end. Almost every year, the roads are dug for one reason or the other,” he said. 

Many business owners in the capital have faced multiple difficulties due to road diggings. Such road work generates an immense amount of dust pollution due to which roadside shops are highly affected.

“Roads in front of our shops remained blocked for months. It was like a lockdown for us. We opened the stalls but due to the dug roads, there was no way to access and hence no business for us,” said Md. Syed, a grocery shop owner in Mirpur.

S.M. Khan, a tailor shop owner told this correspondent, “We could hardly keep our shops open. The wind blowing into our shops brought in dust which pollutes the hung fabrics.” 

According to city corporations officials, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA), Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC), Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL), Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO), Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited and others are conducting projects on the roads that are emergency services.

The Dhaka City Road Digging Rules 2019 states that road digging in the months of June, July, August, September and October are discouraged due to the rainy season. Furthermore, no entity should keep a road excavated for more than 30 days.

Veteran city planners said that the lack of coordination among the concerned bodies increased public inconvenience. Several entities have begun projects in no order one after the other.

Urban planner Iqbal Habib told Bangladesh Post that the utility service agencies and the city authorities are in road digging. This has resulted in a significant increase in public sufferings. 

“It is essential to plan the execution of the projects from beforehand. An alternative road needs to remain open when one is blocked for digging,” he added.

He said that it is important that the projects need to be implemented; however, the concerned bodies need to make sure there is no overlap.

Roads in Dhaka have been in a dilapidated state throughout the last couple of months. Several city utility service providers have been digging roads in different areas in the capital including, Azimpur, Nilkhet, Lalbagh, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Rampura, Gulshan, Mirpur, Old Town’s Abul Hasnat Road to Jail Gate, Aga Sadek Road to Nazira Bazar, Husaini Dalan etc.

DSCC chief executive officer Farid Ahmed told Bangladesh Post that most projects were halted due to the monsoon season. However, some permissions were given due to essential utility services. 

“Some of our projects were delayed because some contracts with previous contractors were terminated and new ones were appointed. Tenders were canceled due to irregularities and breach of deadlines,” he said. 

He added that those projects would be completed as soon as possible. Most road digging projects were to reduce waterlogging and develop drainage. If any complaint is made, it would be acted upon immediately.

While talking to the correspondent, DNCC chief executive officer said that that it is understandable that normal that would increase public sufferings and traffic congestions, however, it is for the long term benefit.

“Permissions were given to the most essential projects such as water, electricity and underground cable. This is eventually likely to reduce public sufferings,” he said. 

He added that it was always attempted that permissions be given rationally. The agencies were always given conditions when they obtain permission, however, it was not always maintained.

Dhaka is hosting a few mega projects such as the Metrorail Project and the Dhaka Elevated Expressway project. These long-term projects have been ongoing for a very long time creating difficulty in movements for the city-dwellers.

In addition to these projects, the dug roads all over the city are making life more challenging for the people of the capital.