Roads and Highways Department (RHD) came under fire at a public hearing on Monday over the deplorable condition of the roads and highways when the rush for Eid holidaymaking outside the city is in full swing.
Participants at the hearing criticised the department for it its failure to maintain good condition of the roads and highways and implement the projects at the estimated cost and within the stipulated time.
The public hearing was organised as part of the national integrity strategy at the Sarak Bhaban with RHD Chief Engineer Ibne Alam Hasan in the chair.
Roads Transport and Highways Division Secretary Nazrul Islam attended it as chief guest.
RHD engineers, contractors, representatives of RHD employees and civil society members took part in the hearing.
Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges M Belayet Hossain also spoke.
The participants alleged that due to lack of proper planning and management, road condition throughout the country remains deplorable even shortly after completion of the construction work.
Citing examples of Dhaka-Chattagram highway, they also said longevity of the important highway of the country did not sustain even a year.
Revision of cost, time and design for almost all RHD projects is a regular feature, they commented.
Contractors blamed bureaucratic tangle has a hindrance to carrying out maintenance work in time.
They demanded that authority should be given to the RHD zonal offices to award work of small size.
They believe it would help keep roads and highways smooth and safe all the year round.
At present, contractors have to come to Dhaka for a small amount of fund for maintenance work.
One contractor also raised the issue of alleged discrimination in project costs formulated by RHD and Army.
He claimed many RHD contractors do work maintaining standard and urged the Planning Commission to change its mindset in this regard.
Secretary Nazrul Islam said RHD in many respects is helpless mainly due to the tendering process and climate.
But increase in project cost is in many cases rational in the country's context, he added.
The secretary also said road condition deteriorates as overloading is allowed as axle load could not be maintained strictly following pressure from business quarters.
Accepting some of the allegations as logical, the RHD chief engineer said land acquisition related-complications usually delay the project implementation and increase the cost.
He also said RHD often has to accept unscientific steps considering the reality.
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