Govt failures in making Eid-time travel safe

Published: 00:05, Aug 18,2017 | Updated: 00:06, Aug 18,2017


JOURNEY of people leaving for outlying areas from Dhaka or coming back to the capital around Eid-ul-Adha this time may not be pleasant, as it has almost always been, because of rickety roads and highways, having countless potholes and craters along long stretches, as New Age reported on Thursday. But this time, the journey could even be worse for people especially going to the north, the south-east and the north-east and also part of the middle region because the ongoing flooding that has already left the roads submerged and snapped at places. There may not be flood water in some of the areas when Eid-ul-Adha would be celebrated in the first week of September, yet the flooding might leave the roads and highways severely battered, making journey by road painful. Sufferings might also intensify, especially before Eid, because of illegal cattle markets that are set up near or on the roads and highways, slowing down traffic for which travel could take double, or triple, the time it otherwise would. But much of this seems to be the results of government’s piecemeal efforts to repair rickety roads and highways before mostly two occasions of Eid when millions of people start moving in all the directions to spend Eid with family and friends.
In its efforts to mitigate the sufferings of people in their journey around Eid, the road transport and bridges ministry gave a directive to repair all roads under its jurisdiction seven days before Eid-ul-Adha. But the directive is highly unlikely to afford people any relief as many would start leaving Dhaka much before Eid. And the fate of the directive can be easily guessed from another such instance in which the road transport and bridges minister, on August 9, suspended an executive engineer of the department and asked authorities concerned to repair the highway in Sirajganj in 10 days. With only three days left, as New Age reported, the highway has remained in the almost the same poor condition till Wednesday. In view of such a progress, the directive of the ministry to repair all rickety roads, which could exceed several hundred kilometres, before Eid would hardly be implemented. Besides, when rickety stretches of roads and highways were repaired with the same vigour just before Eid-ul-Fitr towards the end of June, why should the authorities then need to do the same job again in about two months? It suggests that jobs were not properly done around Eid-ul-Fitr about two months ago and the government needs to repeat the job now, after two months.
Such a piecemeal approach in road repairs clearly suggests that the government should take up a comprehensive approach of road and highway maintenance. If the episodic exuberance of government efforts in road repairs and maintenance could be fit in with a routine round-the-year, the government many not have to attend to the issues on just two occasions every year. The government, under the circumstances, must not only resolve the problems of road communications at hand but also routinely carry out the job round-the-year to give people a respite that they badly need.

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