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New project in Sunamganj awaits approval after wasting Tk 910 million

OUR Correspondent | November 23, 2020 00:00:00

Shulla upazila connecting road washed away at some places — FE Photo

SYLHET, Nov 22: A good part on the much-talked about project to connect the remote haor Shulla upazila with the Sunamganj district town through Derai upazila has been washed away during the last 03 years, even before completion of the project.

The Roads & Highways (R & H) took up the 18 km road at a cost of Tk 1.1 billion in 2010. But, keeping things incomplete the authority declared it finished as 'incomplete project' in 2017. Although construction of the bridge and culverts were completed, only 60 per cent on the road works were done.

However, some of the people of the area used to use only motor bikes for linking the district town that time.

But, one third of the road was washed away by the severe floods during the last 03 years, triggering prolonged sufferings for over million of inhabitants of the area while the Tk. 910 million had gone in drain from the public exchequer, believe a good number of the locals.

However, by now the authority prepared a new and revised project for the important road and sent it to the higher authority for approval, sources informed.

Construction of the road was a risky one with vast haors on both sides. This is why the works couldn't be completed in time, claimed an official. Besides, at the end of deadline in 2013, it was given an extension.

But, even then it had to be declared 'incomplete project' in 2017 after spending taka 910 million.

However, locals managed communicating the district town only by using motorbikes somehow. But, repeated floods washed away about 3 and a half km on the road, putting the locals in great troubles.

Two of the damaged culverts even turned turtle while 120 metres at Masuakhara had been washed away, snapping the only half done road link of the upazila people.

They could use boats during the monsoon but have to depend on foot only for the rest of the year, said some locals like Habibur Rahman of Shulla upazila town.

Under the project, 4 bridges and 15 culverts were built on the 19.5 km road in the last 7 years while only 60 per cent of the road works were done. But, 3.5 km is already washed away by floods.

In such a situation, the R & H has taken up a new project adding neighbouring upazilas as 'Madanpur-Derai-Shulla-Jolsuka-Ajmiriganj road', in which the damaged road had been included, the official admitted.

The newly proposed one will be wider and have 3 feet increased height alongside slope protection on both sides in a bid to ensure better protection from floods.

A new bridge and 7 more culverts have been included in the project in line with Hydrology and Morphology research, done by the River Research institute with a target to ensure better protection from strong flood waves, the official claimed.

With all these modifications, the project cost stood at taka 550 million and is awaiting approval from the road division.

The locals now have to use boats to reach the upazila towns of Derai and Shulla to go to the district.

Shulla upazila Chairman Al Amin Chowdhury said works were started 10 years ago, but washed away even before its completion. We don't know when things would be done on the new one.

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