Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said infrastructure construction works will remain out of the purview of the seven-day compete lockdown.
“The roads and highways will remain free due to restrictions on plying public transports during the lockdown beginning on April 14. In this time, the damaged roads will have to be repaired to make those suitable for traffic,” he said.
Quader, also the Awami League general secretary, said this while speaking at a view-exchange meeting with the engineers of the Roads and Highways Department through videoconferencing from his official residence.
He instructed all concerned to conduct road repair works following the health guidelines and using masks.
Quader said the monsoon is approaching and the road repair works must be completed before the rainy season starts.
“This is high time to carry out road repair works,” he added.
Noting that a revolutionary change was brought in the country’s road communication in the last couples of years, he said the highest priority must be given to the upgrading of the Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar Highway into four lanes.
About the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway Four-lane Project, the road transport minister said: “This project is a long-standing demand of the people of Sylhet. Although the work of this project had been stalled for a long time, it gains momentum recently.”
About the country’s politics, he said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina does not believe in the politics of repression, while her government shows respect to all parties and opinions, and believes in the freedom of expression.
Responding to an allegation of BNP, the AL general secretary said their allegations are conventional and not true.
The BNP did not utter a single word about the violence that Hefazat-e-Islam carried out across the country and set fire to people and public properties, he said.
The law enforcing agencies are taking actions scrutinising video footages, Quader said, adding the perpetrators cannot belong to any particular party and a religion never encourage violence.
He said those who are involved in dirty politics and damaging public properties in the name of religion are being held based on specific allegations.
About another allegation that the government is harassing the BNP leaders and works to take political revenge, the AL general secretary said BNP’s allegation is baseless, urging the party to provide specific information on where its people are being harassed.
About the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he said the COVID-19 infection and death rates are increasing day by day, so the Sheikh Hasina’s government decided to enforce a complete lockdown to protect the lives of people.
The road transport minister sought constructive advice from all the political parties of the country in dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
Urging all to stand by the common people amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, he said: “By the grace of the Creator, Insha Allah we will overcome the crisis under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”