Monsoon road-digging nightmares

A sorry state is prevailing across the city as different roads and pavements are being whimsically dug up by the City Corporations, WASA, DESA and other utility service provider authorities, in the name of development. And the latest condition of the roads has turned worse as they are being dug during the rainy season causing immense sufferings to the city people.

As the construction work of metro-rail, elevated expressway and bus rapid transit are progressing in full swing, many portions of the city’s important roads are already being dug. And the uncoordinated digging work by the City Corporations, WASA, DESA and other utility service providers during the full monsoon has rubbed salt into the wound of the city dwellers.      

Residents alleged that road digging takes a serious turn in the monsoons, which causes waterlogging and traffic congestion as well. Locals of Mugda-Manda area are facing difficulties as digging work has been going on in different parts of the area.  The Mugda-Manda road was repaired at the beginning of this year. One month later, one side of the entire road was dug up to lay underground electric cables. The people of this area faced huge difficulties during the time. Now, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has again dug up the same road for underground drains.

Nasim, a local, said, “We know the work is going on to improve our lives, but the way it is being done is not good. They dig up a really long stretch of road at once putting us in difficulty.” Hamida Akter, guardian of Nusrat, a class five student of Mugda Primary School, said they face huge traffic jams due to road digging. She also alleged that they witnessed road digging three times at the same road in one year, adding, it is intolerable. Alamgir, a contractor worker of Mugda-Manda sewerage line, said it would take a month more to dig the road, work on the sewerage lines and cover the surface.

Shaiful Islam, a resident of city’s Mohammadpur area said that road cutting, construction, repair and setting up of sewerage lines have been going on all year round in his area. Besides, the main road of Agargaon, Shewrapara, Kazipara to Mirpur has been half-blocked for three years due to construction work of Metro Rail.  Now, the construction work of Metro Rail is going on at Motijheel, Paltan and Press Club areas. It causes huge traffic congestion in these areas.

Apart from this, the construction work of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has been going on at the main road from Tongi, Abdullahpur, and Uttara areas obstructing the movement of vehicles. On the other hand, the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is going to reinstall drainage system from Alaul Avenue of Uttara Sector-6 to Kossai Bari Rail Gate of Uttara Sector-4.

DNCC will construct and develop about 2.87 kilometers RCC pipes, RCC slab, RCC drain and footpath, water bound Macadam, basic type-1, leveling course, wiring course, and road marking in this area at a cost of Tk 35.5 crore.  DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam on Monday inaugurated the renovation and construction of roads and drainage system in Uttara area.

During the inauguration, Mayor Atiqul urged the city dwellers to help in completing the construction activities as people will face some problems during the construction work. When asked, DSCC Additional Chief Engineer Md Asaduzzaman claimed that the works on different projects are now being implemented in a better and more coordinated way than in the past.  “But, there’s no alternative to strengthening the coordination among different utility agencies in the city to minimise public sufferings and save public money.”

Secretary General of Bangladesh Institute of Planners Adil Mohammad Khan told Bangladesh Post, “All the city agencies are preparing and implementing their plans without maintaining coordination with one another.

“City corporations, Rajuk, WASA and other agencies are implementing their plans in the capital at their own will, but work of all the agencies must be brought under a strong and single authority to ensure coordination among them,” he added. Engineer Abdus Sobhan, former additional director general of the Department of Environment, said when four urban agencies, for example, need to cut a road to carry out their work, the agencies are seen cutting it four times on separate occasions for lack of coordination among themselves, wasting public money.  The Planning Commission can ensure coordination among the agencies. “Before approval of the urban development projects, the Planning Commission can ask the agencies to implement their projects in a common period,” he suggested.