Dhaka, Bangladesh
Graft in road construction

Graft in road construction

It is unfortunate that the sorry state of roads and highways across the country is yet to draw attention of the government. Grave anomalies have been detected in the implementation of 69 road construction projects taken up by the country’s Roads and Highway Department (RHD). The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Planning Ministry itself in a report on ‘Field observation and evaluation’ found these anomalies in the road construction projects. According to the report, responsibilities of construction work in many cases were given to incompetent contractors and incomplete roads were declared ‘complete’. The Planning Ministry concluded that the objectives of these projects involving Dhaka and Rajshahi divisions could not be achieved. It is not surprising that people would hardly find these poorly constructed incomplete roads beneficial. After one heavy rainy season, one can guess, these roads would break down, potholes would be created, making them unfit for use. This means the same old problems would continue to persist even after due spending of funds from the government exchequer. However, it was certainly not possible on the part of the contractors to get away with the fund for construction without backdoor dealing by them with certain unscrupulous officials of the RHD. It is expected now that once the anomalies have been detected, the government would take appropriate steps to identify the culprits responsible for such misuse of the government funds and make them accountable for their action. Anomalies with the construction of roads do not involve only these 69 roads, most of the roads and highways or streets within cities and towns that are built face the same fate: they become unfit for use after some days. There are many examples of newly constructed roads that fail to give service more than one or two years because of poor construction. Take for example the road that goes through the West Shewrapara connecting Pirerbagh in the capital’s Mirpur. A couple of years ago this road was concretised, poorly though. Since the WASA dug the road, it again has to be reconstructed. Here comes another problem: roads are often constructed without proper coordination between the relevant departments. Lack of this coordination also drains away government funds. In a country like ours, a properly constructed road should give service at least for 10 years. This would definitely save a lot of our country’s precious money. Bangladesh wants to become a middle income nation within the shortest possible time; and for this it is very important to minimise corruption, not only in constructing roads but in all affairs of the government.

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