Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper

Govt must ensure smooth journey for homegoers ahead of Eid

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PEOPLE are taking preparations to observe Eid-ul-Fitr with their kith and kin but the home-bound journeys may  turn into a nightmare due to dilapidated roads and highways. Belying all efforts taken by the government to repair the country's major highways, uncoordinated repairing and lingered road expansion works with heavy traffic are defining the sufferings. The New Nation yesterday reported that the ramshackle condition of the Dhaka-Tangail, Dhaka-Mymensingh, Dhaka-Chattogram and Jashore-Khulna national highways which show deterioration due to rainfall has created a dark shadow over the joy of the home-bound commuters.
According to the Annual Maintenance and Rehabilitation Needs Report 2018-19 of RHD, at present about 27 percent national and regional highways and inter-district roads are in  poor to very bad conditions, especially in Rajshahi, Khulna and Dhaka areas. The survey shows that about 54 percent highways and roads are in good condition, 20 percent in fair, about 12 percent in poor, about 6 percent in bad and about 9 percent in very bad condition. Dhaka-Tangail highway that connects 22 northern districts with capital Dhaka is now in very poor condition. At least 68 kilometre of roads from Gorai to the Bangabandhu Bridge have potholes in Gorai, Dherua, Mirzapur, Pakullah, Jamurki, Korotia bypass, Ashokpur Bypass, Pabna Bypass, Rosulpur, Pouli and Elenga areas. The traffic goes at a  snail's pace because of the potholes and under construction work of four-lanes, creating gridlock for hours on the highway.
Illegal kitchen markets, cattle markets, hawkers and other makeshift shops also occupy the highway in many areas. Last month, people suffered from severe tailbacks from Chowddogram-Cumilla Cantonment-Daudkandi on Dhaka-Chattogram highway due to huge number of potholes and the four-lane construction work. It is anticipated that at least 70/80 lakh crore people will leave Dhaka during the Eid holidays of whom 60 lakh will use the highways. Besides, 3.85 crore holidaymakers will make their journey from one district to another. Of them, 2.8 crore will use the district highways.
Unless the government ensures accountability in road construction and repair works, the journey will never be easy for Eid holidaymakers. Repairing roads ahead of Eid would be a wastage of public money if the quality is not maintained.

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