People’s misery and authorities’ sustained indifference
AS THE construction of the Gulistan-Jatrabari flyover goes on, apparently endlessly, people travelling through the eastern part of the capital Dhaka have to put up with a myriad of problems. According to a report front-paged in New Age on Sunday, people from Narayanganj and Munshiganj, two neighbouring districts, are the worst sufferers as long stretches of the road have been badly damaged due to lack of maintenance. Vehicles have to wait in long queues for hours on end every day on the rundown Gulistan-Jatrabari Road, to enter the capital from Chittagong, Sylhet, Comilla, Narsingdi, Chandpur, Noakhali and Feni. Although the contractor of the flyover project, according to a former vice-chancellor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, is supposed to repair the damaged stretches of the road as quickly as possible or make alternative arrangements for traffic movement, in line with international practices; it has thus far shown hardly any interest to do so. Monsoon downpours have further aggravated the situation as water-logging has created ditches that are big enough to make large vehicles such as covered vans go turtle.
Added to the wretched condition of the road is shoddy traffic management by the police. Complaints are galore that the traffic police allow buses and trucks to park illegally at Sayedabad, thereby deepening traffic congestion in the area. As a private university student was quoted in the report as saying, it sometimes takes two hours or more to cross a stretch of even less than quarter of a kilometre between Jatrabari and Sayedabad. The least said about the misery of the pedestrians the better. Piled-up mud washed into the road makes it virtually impossible for them to walk.
Of course, such a big project as the Gulistan-Jatrabari flyover is expected to cause inconveniences to vehicular and pedestrian movement during construction. However, there seems to be hardly any initiative from the authorities to mitigate the miseries of the people. One wonders, if it is international practice for a contractor to repair damaged stretches of road or make alternative arrangements for vehicular movement, why the authorities have done hardly anything to make the contractor of the flyover project to do so. Moreover, when the traffic police need to be on their toes in such circumstances so that any violation of rules and regulations does not add to people’s inconvenience, illegal parking by buses and trucks appears rampant.
Overall, there seems to be multiple failures by the authorities — regulatory, monitoring and enforcement — that have intensified the misery of the people, especially those travelling through the eastern part of the capital. This is simply unacceptable. Worse still, their sustained failure could any result in serious accidents and fatalities even. Hence, the authorities need to take immediate steps to mitigate the inconveniences of people in the area in question.
comments powered by Disqus