Asma Akhtar and her two classmates didn't know who to blame for being 45 minutes late for their HSC practical examination yesterday.
Keeping in mind the dismal condition of two-km stretch of the Jatrabari-Demra road, Asma along with Antu Akhtar and Jakiya Sultana left their homes in Demra for the exam hall in the capital's Jatrabari 75 minutes before the test scheduled to begin at 9:00am.
It was supposed to take around 30 minutes for them to reach the venue by a vehicle given the deplorable condition of the road. But they had to spend 90 minutes to cross the two-km stretch by a human hauler due to heavy traffic jam on the road.
“The condition of the road, especially from Jatrabari intersection to Kajla, is extremely bad and you have to brace yourself for a bumpy ride,” Asma told this correspondent yesterday.
“We were very worried about the exam as time was running out… After remaining stuck on the road for more than an hour, we finally reached the exam hall around 9:45am,” she said.
Asma further said many other students like them were also late because of the appalling condition of the road.
Visiting the road -- one of the entry points to the capital -- on Wednesday, this correspondent saw numerous potholes filled with water and knee-deep mud at some spots.
Abul Kalam Azad, a trader in the area, said the road has been in a bad shape for the last six years. But its condition worsened after Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) started repairing the road around four months ago.
He alleged that the contractors dug up the entire two-km stretch of the road instead of doing it part by part.
“They are doing their work at a snail's pace.”
People would have to suffer more if the authorities concerned don't complete the work before the monsoon, he added.
This correspondent couldn't reach any of the contractors for comments.
Mohammad Sohel, driver of a CNG-run autorickshaw, claimed that at least a dozen vehicles get trapped in the potholes on the road every day.
Sohel was struggling to repair his autorickshaw that broke down on the road around 6:00am on Wednesday.
“I took passengers for a trip from Jatrabari to Rupganj in Narayanganj for Tk 1,000. But the vehicle got stuck in a pothole and broke down,” he added.
Md Anisur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Jatrabari Police Station, said they face difficulties in moving to various spots in the area due to bad condition of the road.
Contacted, DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon said the road has been in a sorry state over the last five years. The DSCC started repairing the road around four months back, but early rain made the task harder.
Khokon said they would go for reinforced cement concrete (RCC) method, instead of using bitumen, for repairing the road.
Mohammad Borhan Uddin, executive engineer of the DSCC Zone-5, said the repair of the road started four months ago and is expected to end by October.
He said they had taken an initiative to repair the road last year but it took more time than expected to complete the tender process.
The repair work of the one-km stretch of the road from Jatrabari crossing to Kajla would be completed by October at a cost of Tk 20 crore, Borhan mentioned.
He further said they are also setting up a drainage system in the area to protect the road from waterlogging.
“We are putting pressure on the contractors to complete the work by October and are also monitoring their work,” added the DSCC official.