Saturday, June 22, 2024

Repair roads right away

PM directs communications ministry, assures it of quick fund; Dhaka-Mymensingh bus strike ends
Expressing annoyance over poor conditions of highways, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the communications ministry to immediately repair all dilapidated highways so that home-bound people do not face any trouble during Eid travel.
“Start repair work in full swing with the money you got. Necessary additional money will be given gradually,” a source quoted her as saying to communications ministry officials during a meeting in her office on the conditions of the country’s roads and highways.
The meeting sources said Hasina asked the finance ministry to release the fund allocated for repair and maintenance of highways without much delay, and told the communications minister to make sure that the fund is used properly.
The meeting was convened against the backdrop of transport strikes on various routes including Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Tangail highways protesting the sorry state of the roads.
Public transport owners however withdrew their strikes last night after Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain at a meeting assured them of repairing the highways on an urgent basis.
Our Mymensingh correspondent reported that buses started operating on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway around 8:30pm yesterday.
Negligence of the communications ministry is widely blamed for the situation that has caused a lot of disappointment among a cross-section of people.
At the prime minister’s meeting, Hasina also directed Bangladesh Railway officials to improve train services to give comfort to passengers during Eid travel.
She told the railway officials to reserve one compartment in each passenger train for carrying commodity goods including vegetables, so supply chain to Dhaka markets remains smooth.
Roads and Highway Department (RHD), and Bangladesh Railway gave separate presentations on the overall conditions of roads and highways, and the rail services across the country.
The RHD presentation showed why and how the highways turned dilapidated.
RHD officials told Hasina that repair work on some roads and highways were already done, but due to heavy rain they got damaged again.
The PM asked them to repair those again properly.
The officials blamed the last BNP-Jamaat alliance government and the immediate past caretaker government for the poor road conditions.
Hasina asked the communications ministry to submit a report on its expenditure for construction, development, maintenance, renovation and repair of roads and highways since 2001, so it can be assessed what were done during the tenure of BNP-Jamaat alliance government and the caretaker government, and during the first half of the present government.
After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters that the prime minister asked the communications ministry to deploy Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) buses on all highways of the country for convenience of the home-bound people during the Eid vacation.
The ministry officials informed the prime minister that around 300 BRTC buses are running on various roads.
PM’s advisers HT Imam and Dr Mashiur Rahman, Principal Secretary MA Karim, PMO Secretary Mollah Waheeduzzaman, Finance Secretary Dr Mohammad Tareq, and Communications Secretary Md Mozammel Haque Khan were present at the meeting, among others.
Meanwhile, Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain said Dhaka-Mymensingh highway will be made ready for transports in seven days.
While visiting the highway yesterday afternoon, the minister’s motorcade faced difficulty due to large potholes and water-logging at different portions, reported our Gazipur correspondent.
Officer-in-charge of Maona Chourasta Highway Police Station said frequent traffic congestions happen on that highway as vehicles get stuck in the potholes.
Contacted by The Daily Star last night Abul Hossain said, “We are going to hold a follow-up meeting at the ministry tomorrow to discuss how to expedite the repair work.”
He said some parts of Dhaka-Mymensingh highway are still under water. “We are planning to repair the places by removing the water,” he said.
About improving rail services, he said a new train, Rangpur Express, will be introduced on August 21 to transport more passengers ahead of the Eid.
Besides, he said, four engines were added to the railway which will ease engine crisis and improve rail services on different routes.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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