We appreciate the government’s enthusiasm towards prioritising the country’s road and transportation sector in its development agenda. A good number of projects are being implemented in full swing to take our transport sector to the height of first world countries’. Alongside the implementation of big projects like the Padma Bridge, metro rail, elevated expressway, and bullet train, it was just a need of the hour that the government attaches more importance on developing rural roads. This was more of a necessity for creating conducive environment for fostering economic growth and alleviating poverty in rural areas. Hence, the news that the government is going to improve the road and transport system in the rural areas to develop communication and transportation is really welcome.
As reported by this daily on Friday, the government on Thursday inked two financial agreements of total USD 525 million with the World Bank (WB) to improve rural roads and transportation system that would benefit more than 100 million people. Out of the total financing, USD 425 million will be used for project ‘Operation for Supporting Rural Bridges’ and USD 100 million for project ‘Second Rural Transport Improvement’. It is envisaged that the ‘Operation for Supporting Rural Bridges’ programme will improve connectivity and climate resilience in 19 coastal districts. It will also support existing efforts by the government to plan and design rural bridges through the rehabilitation of at least 29,000 meters of bridges, and to build another 20,000 meters of new bridges in 61 districts across Bangladesh. The USD 100 million additional financing to the ‘Second Rural Transport Improvement’ project will be used for the improving 1,433km of upazila and union and the maintenance of almost 6,000km of rural roads in 26 districts.
An efficient rural road network can play the most important role in improving rural livelihoods. We hope once these projects are executed, there will be a drastic change in the rural connectivity and rural life. By enabling greater connectivity, these two projects, apart from minimizing transportation cost, will help rural people gain access to education and healthcare. Also with easier access to market and technology, improved rural roads can help boost agricultural production and foster economic growth. It is time for the authorities concerned and all relevant departments to put forth their concerted efforts to implement the projects within the stipulated timeframe. Besides, proper monitoring must be ensured while implementing the projects to curb any sort of corruption.