Dhaka in a quagmire | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 15, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 15, 2012

Dhaka in a quagmire

Rain on dug-up roads chokes city life

Perils hide beneath the stagnant water on the street between Dayaganj and Tikatuli in the capital. Three-wheelers turn turtle injuring passengers while larger vehicles get stuck and cause traffic jams. Apart from locals coming forward to help stricken vehicles and hurt passengers, nobody else seem to care about this suffering of citizens. Photo: Amran Hossain/Rashed Shumon

Public sufferings have continued unabated over the past three months owing to road construction and repair throughout the capital. And when there is a spell of rain, it adds to people's distress, turning even a typical weekend into a nightmarish one.
Yesterday was one of those days when commuters' patience was stretched to the limit.
Many were left stranded in the middle of waterlogged roads with their vehicles either stuck in potholes or unable to move in water. In some cases, people had to get out of buses, and trudge forward through filthy water and find another mode of transport to reach their destinations.
Ishtiak Parvez travelled for more than three hours to reach Karwan Bazar. He had started his journey from his home in Narayanganj in driving rain in the morning.
"Nobody really knows when the Gulistan-Jatrabari flyover will be completed, but until then every rainy day will be like this," he said, sitting in a bus that was struggling to move out of the thick mud on the battered road.
The roads from Uttara to Banani bore a similarity. They all had numerous potholes due to relocation and repair works by Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh.
Repair works are already underway on roads from Gabtoli, Mirpur, Shyamoli, Pallabi, Darussalam and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar to Dhanmondi, Panthapath, Chankharpool, Gulistan, Bangabhaban, Jurain, Syedabad, Kamalapur, Tibet intersection in Tejgaon Industrial Area to the National Shooting Federation, Uttara and Gulshan.
Most of these roads have been narrowed down. When there is rainfall, the dug-up areas go out of the full view of the drivers, resulting in breakdowns or even accidents.
Rajib Hasan usually travels in the afternoon to reach his Karwan Bazar office from Mohammadpur. But since Panthapath has almost been cut into two, his 20-minute ride now takes more than an hour.
"The roads near Russell Square are being dug up for so long. We really don't know when they will be brought back to their earlier condition," said Rajib.
Reazur Rahman also took the same route yesterday to go from Dhanmondi to Moghbazar, and it took more than 30 minutes just to cross Square Hospital, a condition prevalent in the past few months.
"On Mirpur road, cars are parked on both sides, leaving a narrow lane for other vehicles to pass. Development work is on in all the streets, and it is creating traffic jam all over the city," he said.
Road digging by these agencies has made driving and movement of people very unsafe in this rainy season. For those like Samiur Rahman, who walks from his Moghbazar home to Malibagh intersection every day to find a bus, it was almost impossible for him to walk as the road had remained waterlogged since early morning. But that was not the end of his ordeal.
"I had to wait for another 45 minutes in the rain before I got a bus to go to Bashundhara Residential Area. It took me another hour and a half to reach there," he said.
And for those who had to take Rokeya Sarani at any time of the day encountered tailbacks due to a programme of the ruling party's youth wing. Apart from haphazard parking, too many people were in the middle of the street.
"I was stuck in front of the Bangabandhu Convention Centre for almost half an hour in the morning before the buses started to move," said Swapan, who works at a store at Mirpur-10. "It wasn't anything important but I saw many young men blocking the road."
With so many things happening in the capital, a more coordinated approach is necessary to ease public sufferings. Instead, bad conditions have gone on for much too long. Quite predictably, the officials concerned could not say when it will end.

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