Local people have stopped road repair work in Habiganj Sadar upazila on Sunday, protesting use of substandard materials and low quality work.
While talking to this correspondent, a number of residents in the area said seeing the low quality work and use of substandard construction materials it seems the road will not last long, so locals stopped the repair work.
The construction firm concerned, however, claimed that as they refused to meet the illegal demands of some local influential people they (influential people ) stopped the repair work.
Roads and Highways Department in Habiganj floated a tender for repairing the 2.2 kilometre Aushkandi-Nabiganj-Imambari-Habiganj road about three months ago.
JONJB, a joint venture of three separate construction farms, got the work order of Tk 17 crore and started the repair over a week ago.
“The repair work was going on using low quality and insufficient materials,” local union parishad (UP) member Abdul Mukit said.
For example, thickness of the carpeting is supposed to be 50-millimetre but it was only 35 to 37 millimetres, Mukit said.
“Thickness of the road surface should be 1.5 to 2 inches, but the contractor concerned applied only 0.5 inches thickness,” local resident Engineer Syed Ali said.
“Seeing the nature of the repair work, it seems that the road will not last even a year and we cannot allow such substandard work,” Songkhubdo Nagorik Andolon Habiganj unit coordinator Tofazzal Sohel said.
During a visit to the area on Tuesday, this correspondent saw carpeting of the road is already worn-out at some points.
Many locals alleged that as the carpeting has already started wearing out within a few days of repairing, one can easily assume how long the road will last.
“I don't know why the repair work was stopped,” Habiganj RHD Executive Engineer Jahirul Islam said, adding that he will enquire about whether any irregularities happened or not.
Habiganj Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Towhid Bin Hasan said RHD officials are aware of the incident, adding that he will inform the senior officials about the matter and recommend taking action if any irregularities occurred there.
Contractor concerned Lutfur Rahman, however, alleged that they were doing the repair work properly, but some unscrupulous locals have been demanding illegal benefits since the work began.
Failing to get benefits, they are now preventing them from continuing the works, he alleged.