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Bangladesh - April 23, 2022

Eid holidaymakers fear rough ride

Dilapidated roads may cause of fatal accidents

Golam Mostafa Jibon: Eid holidaymakers are in fear of rough ride due to deplorable condition of roads across the country. Many are also apprehending that, they may face fatal accidents, if the repairing works of ramshackle roads are not completed by the scheduled time announced by the government.
There is only a week left for the Eid journey to start in full swing. But repair and development works on the roads and highways are still going on in a snail’s pace. Consequently, many places of the country’s 22 highways are still full of potholes. Dhaka-Gazipur, Dhaka-Chattogram, Dhaka-Aricha, Dhaka-Tangail, Sirajganj-Bogura and about 700 km of roads and highways are in a dilapidated condition. Many holidaymakers will use those unsmooth roads to go homes for celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr along with their near and dear ones. Similarly, they will also use the roads during returning to workplaces.
Road Transports and Bridges affairs Minister Obaidul Quader has already directed to complete the repair work of all the roads of the country before the start of Eid journey, but it has not been implemented yet. However, officials said, all road repairs will be completed by April 25.
According to the Department of Roads and Highways (DRH), there are 22,427 kilometers of roads and highways in the country. Of them, 3,989 km are national highways, 4,897 km are regional highways and 13,541 km are district roads. More than 16 percent of these roads are dilapidated. At present, 691 km of roads in important parts of the country are not in normal condition for vehicular movement. Last year, the length of such roads was 943 km. The condition of the road has improved somewhat as repair work is currently underway.
DRH officials said that, the roads will be ready for traffic before the start of Eid travelling in full swing. However, efforts are being made to make the roads that are under development work tolerable for commuting. Some of the roads under development have been handed over to other agencies. The DRH has nothing to do with their current condition. Officials of the Dhaka Division of the Roads and Highways Department said that, part of the road from Ashulia to Bypile has been handed over to the bridge authorities due to work on the Elevated Expressway project. They are involved with the taking care of this road. Besides, BRT project is underway from airport to Gazipur crossroad. This road is also in the hands of BRT. It is their responsibility to repair the road. Now there is nothing to do here. Attempts are being made to complete the repair work of other parts of the country’s highways before the Eid trips.
Roy Ramesh Chandra Ghosh, president of the Bangladesh Bus-Truck Owners Association said, there was a risk of traffic jams on all parts of the country. In some districts of North Bengal including Sirajganj, Sherpur and Bogra, development work on roads and construction of flyovers were going on, causing traffic jams. The Paturia-Daulatdia ferry is causing traffic jams at both the ports. The situation will become more difficult, if the traffic pressure increases during the Eid Journey. However, the transport drivers and owners have complained that there is a discrepancy between the information of the DRH and the actual condition of roads and highways.
Kamal Hossain, an employee of Shyamoli Paribahan said that, the passengers of this route will have to suffer a lot this time due to the dilapidated condition on the Dhaka-Aricha highway. The embarrassment will start as soon as the passengers of this route leave Dhaka.
Road widening and installation of dividers from Aminbazar to Dhamrai is in progress. Vehicles on this road often have to travel in one lane. Sometimes service lanes have to be used. To widen the long road from Nabinagar to Dhamrai, one has to drive in two lanes. The service lane is also being filled, creating a hole about three feet deep on the side. All vehicles have to move slowly to avoid accidents. Right now, it takes more than three to four hours to reach Zirabo from Gabtali.
Bus driver Mainul Islam said, the traffic pressure will increase several times, when the Eid journey will be started in full swing. Then the people of 21 south-western districts and North Bengal will suffer highly by the traffic jam. There is no relief on the Ashulia-Bypass road. Normally there is a 5/6 km long traffic jam on both sides of Ashulia Bridge. When the Eid travelling begins, if thousands of workers of hundreds of garment factories in Uttara and Tongi areas start their journey home, the traffic pressure will increase several times and the suffering will reach its peak. The bridge is narrower than the main road, causing traffic jams. The road from Abdullahpur to Bypass is broken and full of potholes. But the repair work of this road did not start so far. It was learned that, the Dhaka-Chattogram highway was not free from traffic jams even though it was upgraded to four lanes. Four-lane renovation works are underway in Shahidnagar and Hasanpur areas of Daudkandi upazila of Comilla. As a result, the vehicles of four-lane are moving in two lanes, causing long traffic jams every day. The risk of suffering is much higher here during Eid.
Homebound people will not be able to avoid suffering due to the work of four lanes including service lanes on both sides of Dhaka-Sylhet highway. In addition, work is underway to transfer various service lines. The suffering of the passengers of North Bengal will be more this time than any other time. Fear of immense tailback is prevailing among the people due to construction of flyovers at Kaddar Morh, Konagati and Panchila in Sirajganj and renovation of Nalka Bridge. If the Nalka and Chandaikona bridges are not fully operational, the situation will get worse. The road from the airport to Gazipur crossroads was broken as the road construction work of BRT project was going on. It takes more than three hours to reach Joydebpur crossroads from Tongi.

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