• Friday, October 24, 2014

Is Anybody Watching?

Delayed repair brings no hope

Gridlock worsens on Ashulia highway ahead of Eid

Helemul Alam
The Roads and Highways Department is finally laying drainage line along a one-kilometre stretch of Ashulia-DEPZ highway and giving temporary fixes to the edges of the road, inset, yesterday ahead of the Eid rush. The pothole-riddled road creates day-long traffic jams. Photo: Palash Khan
The Roads and Highways Department is finally laying drainage line along a one-kilometre stretch of Ashulia-DEPZ highway and giving temporary fixes to the edges of the road, inset, yesterday ahead of the Eid rush. The pothole-riddled road creates day-long traffic jams. Photo: Palash Khan

The Roads and Highways Department sat and watched for two months as heavy traffic moved through stagnant water on a kilometre stretch of Ashulia-DEPZ highway ruining the road surface.

And now, they have started filling up the giant potholes with sand and brick chunks for a temporary fix ahead of the Eid rush.

Several RHD workers have recently dug some small drains beside the affected 1-km stretch -- from Jamgora to Baipal -- so that the stagnant water could flow into canals.

But still, these efforts are of hardly any use as the vehicles still get stuck in gridlocks for hours, creating immense public suffering and financial losses.

A proper response from the authorities at the right time could easily have avoided the situation, said officials of the RHD. 

The 21-kilometre stretch, which includes the DPEZ, was repaired in March last year spending Tk 7 crore.

But the particular 1-km stretch developed numerous potholes with the start of the monsoon in late May. Poor drainage system led to road damage and eventually traffic chaos on regular basis.

The RHD finally started emergency repair work this Friday.

While visiting the repair works at the highway the same day, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader temporarily dismissed Ashan Ullah, an RHD executive engineer, for his negligence in duty and appointed Manikganj executive engineer Sabuj Uddin Ahmed for the job.

Sabuj blamed Ashan's lack of work experience and carelessness for the current tattered condition of the highway.

The emergency repair of the roads would be completed within a few days and ahead of the Eid, said Sabuj.

Meanwhile, several businessmen claimed they were facing financial losses due to the battered condition of the highway.

The pothole- riddled road creates day-long traffic jams. Photo: Palash Khan
The pothole- riddled road creates day-long traffic jams. Photo: Palash Khan

“We incurred a loss of Tk 3 lakh in the last two months as we could not deliver our shipments to Chittagong port on time due to the poor condition of the roads,” said Akhtarul Haque, general manager of a local garment factory named Aristocrat Sweater and Dying Industries Ltd.

It now takes 30 minutes for what used to be a 5-minute drive, he added.

Md Razu Sarkar, driver of a bus operating on the Abdullahpur-Nabinagar route, said his company, Sikdar Enterprise, had spent Tk 21,000 for repairing the bus, which was badly damaged after hitting potholes last month.

 

Published: 12:03 am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Last modified: 10:10 pm Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TAGS: Roads and Highways Department Ashulia highway heavy traffic Ashulia-DEPZ highway Eid rush. gridlocks

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