Sunday, August 18, 2019 | ePaper

Don't waste public money in the name of development projects

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A Bridge built 22 years ago over a canal at Chilarkandi village in Moulvibazar's Kulaura upazila remains unused as it has no approach roads. The incident may be cited as a bright example of lack of coordination among the relevant departments and total waste of public money. The 12-metre long and six foot-wide bridge was constructed by LGED on the Bhukmoil-Kadipur road spending Tk 3.08 lakh in 1997 to improve transportation for the people of around 30 villages.
The bridge remains still useless, as approach roads have not been constructed yet. During dry seasons, people walk past the canal under the bridge. Thousands of people, including school and college students, from nearby villages have been suffering because of this. Chairman of Bhusimoil Union Parishad said he raised the issue many times at the Upazila Administration's monthly coordination meeting, but it remained unheeded. On the other hand, LGED officials said they could not construct the approach roads unless the Project Implementation Office filled up the low land to that end.
It's highly surprising how an important project related with public interest could remain unimplemented over two decades. Undoubtedly, the bridge was built in a hurry and LGED didn't wait for constructing the approach roads. Most probably, LGED had tried to spend its budgetary allocation within the timeframe.
We do urge the department concerned to take immediate steps in this regard. If the bridge was built unnecessarily, then legal action should be taken against the responsible officials.  Like this bridge, there may be some more such incomplete projects in the country. The government has been bold to undertake the development projects, even in rural areas, to offer easy and comfortable life to the people. But the way some of these are being implemented need further thinking.
We think, people's opinion and participation is very much needed from the beginning for the implementation of development projects in the rural areas. Conducting a public hearing before undertaking a project should be practiced to get a first-hand idea of the public feeling about a project. But absence of this practice, the departments concerned with the help of local political clouts take some 'unrealistic' projects, which ultimately pave the way for large-scale corruption.

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