Taxpayers’ money isn’t for squandering
The news of an escalator footbridge in Chattogram city being left inoperative for three years hardly comes as a surprise. According to a report in this daily, the Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) installed the escalator footbridge, the first of its kind in the port city, to aid the patients of Chittagong Diabetic General Hospital nearby. The footbridge, built at the cost of Tk 3.9 crore, was opened to the public in January 2020, but was shut down in less than two months when the country went into a lockdown at the onset of the Covid pandemic. Lockdowns came and went, but the escalator footbridge was never revived. When enquired about it, the CCC chief engineer said it was not financially viable due to high electricity consumption.
Did this fact not occur to anyone at the CCC when they were planning the project? Surely, those who greenlighted this project thoroughly considered its financial, technical, and environmental feasibility before deciding to invest taxpayers' money into building such a grandiose infrastructure? But it seems they did not. Furthermore, seeing as running the escalators is too expensive for the city, we don't understand why, in these three years, the authorities did not remodel the footbridge so that people could use it, rather than leaving it to rot.
Over the past several years, stories of such wasteful projects have become all too common. Whether it's huge hospital buildings that are built and then left without use for years, or roads that crack and collapse shortly after being built, or newly built bridges that tilt even before people get to use it, or excessive delays in projects – poorly planned and executed infrastructural projects are bleeding out hard-earned taxpayers' money. And this keeps happening because those who design and implement these projects always get away scot-free after every mishap, given the lack of good governance in this country. This gross mismanagement must stop immediately. We urge the government to take effective steps to stem this waste, and make an example out of those who are squandering public money with their negligent, corrupt activities.