Home-goers fear trouble | Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:09 AM, June 13, 2018

Trouble lies on way home

Eid holidaymakers' journey may not be smooth as many regional highways and district roads in bad shape

Even if homebound Eid holidaymakers have smooth journey on the national highways, they may suffer in snarl-ups on many regional highways and district roads as those are in poor shape.

Some of the regional highways and district roads have undergone urgent repair recently. Yet, they have potholes and cracks which can lead to accidents during rain.

Ahead of the festival, the government mainly focused on the highways connected to Dhaka.

Road Transport and Highways Division claims that 73.68 percent of 17,976.3 kilometres of highways and roads is in good to fair condition while the remaining in poor to very bad state.

The Division surveyed the roads from November last year to January and found 21.25 percent of national highways in poor to very bad condition, 24.06 percent of regional highways in poor to very bad condition and 28.98 percent of district roads in poor to very bad condition.

People heading home need to travel on the national highways first and then on the regional highways and district roads. 

An estimated 1.15 crore holidaymakers are expected to leave Dhaka for their homes ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, likely to be on Saturday.

Of them, around 70 lakh would use roads and highways, according to rough estimates of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a platform working to ensure passengers' welfare.

Around 3.85 crore people would go from one district to another and 3 crore of them would go by road, it estimates.

"Highways connected to Dhaka are only in discussion ahead of the Eid. A big part of the regional highways and district roads are in poor condition. However, these roads are overlooked," Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, secretary general of Jatri Kalyan Samity, told The Daily Star.

During the Eid holidays, he said, a huge number of people now go to different tourist spots in Cox's Bazar, Kuakata, Jaflong, and Tea Estates in Sylhet for vacation.

But the state of the roads connected to the national highways is bad. The deadline for their repair ended on June 8 but they have remained unchanged, he said.

"The government should have given proper attention to those roads as well," he added.

COMILLA-SYLHET HIGHWAY

Take Comilla-Sylhet highway, a regional one, for example.

Of the 82-km road, asphalt on around six kilometres at different places in Comilla has remained in bad shape for around a year. There are potholes here and there, causing sufferings to passengers.

Besides, there were cracks and uneven surfaces at different places, including from Rampur High School area to Paruwara, Kangshonagar and Debidwar sadar.

Abdur Rashid Khan, a freedom fighter from Kangshonagar in Comilla's Burichang upazila, said, "The Comilla-Sylhet highway underwent repair in the past. However, the quality of the work was not that good. As a result, the road got damaged again only a few months after the repair.”

Mofazzol Haider, executive engineer of Roads and Highways Department (Comilla Division), said asphalt was being laid on six kilometres of the road in different places.

He said the repair of the road had not been complete yet. But he expressed hope that a layer of asphalt would be placed before Eid. 

In the Brahmanbaria portion of the highway, a stretch of 40km from Sarail Bishwaroad to Kasba upazila is full of potholes. It means people using the road should brace themselves for bumpy rides.  

Whenever it rains, these potholes are filled with rainwater. On many occasions, vehicles hit the hidden potholes, break down or face accidents, leading to hour-long snarl-ups on the road. 

Abul Kalam, driver of a bus that frequently plies the highway, said, "We face tremendous problem in moving on this road. Earlier, it would take five to seven minutes to go from one stop to another. But now, it is taking around 30 minutes.”

Muktar Hossain, who works at a firm in Brahmanbaria, said this time he would change his route to go home in Darkhar of Akhaura, only to avoid the hassle on the road.

Contacted, Abu Ehtesam Rashed, executive engineer of Brahmanbaria Roads and Highways Department, said though the road is known as Comilla-Sylhet highway, vehicles from Chittagong use it as well.

Rainwater has brought more miseries to passengers and drivers and the suffering would not end until the total construction was complete, he said.

COMILLA-CHANDPUR ROAD

Of the 88-km road in Comilla portion, around 30 kilometres have cracks and other damaged parts at different spots, including in Paduar Bazar, Bijoypur and Shilmuri areas.

Asphalt is being laid on the road in some places, including Bizra to Modafforganj, Lakhsmibazar, Jagatpur and Kaliapara.

Shafikul Islam, a man who was travelling in a bus on the road, said, "The condition of the road from Chandpur town to Doarvanga is good. But it's pretty bad from Comilla Paduar Bazar to Modafforganj."

Reza E Rabbi, sub-divisional engineer at Comilla sub- division (Roads and Highways Department) said, “Our repair work is underway. Peoples' sufferings will end once the work is over”.

COMILLA-NOAKHALI ROAD

The regional Comilla-Noakhali (Lalmai to Begumganj) road is also in bad shape. There are large and small potholes at several points including Bagmara Bazar, Alishor Bazar, Laksham bypass, Misri and Noshrotpur.

"The main cause of damage on Lalmai-Laksham-Begumganj road is water logging. A drain is being built in Laksham municipality area. Once ready, it will ease the water logging,” Executive Engineer Mofazzol Haider said.

"We continue our repair work. The condition of roads in Comilla is expected to improve in a year and a half,” he added.

ROADS IN SYLHET ZONE

The 59-kilometre Moulvibazar-Rajnagar-Kulaura-Juri-Barlekha road in Sylhet is battered in many places due to the flash floods in the last two years. 

Roads and Highways Department officials said the road was being repaired and the work is estimated to be complete by December.

Mintu Ranjan Debnath, executive engineer of Roads and Highways Department in Moulvibazar, said passengers might face trouble on the road as the work could not be completed before Eid. He said they were facing difficulties due to rain.

Sylhet-Tamabil highway is an important road for export-import activities but its condition has deteriorated over the years.

The Department is now repairing 11 kilometres of the road and about 20 percent of the work is done.

ROADS IN KHULNA ZONE

The 184km regional roads in 10 districts in Khulna division are in bad state.

Of the roads, 23km Jessore-Khulna-Chuknagar road, 32km Tala-Paikgachha-Koira, and 12km Khulna-Chuknagar-Satkhira are filled with potholes and have damaged portions in several parts.

Besides, 24km Dacope-Barobaria-Madhukhali-Tala road, 20km Phultala-Sahapur-Mikshimil-Dumuria road and 6km Terokhada-Barnal-Kalia road are unfit for vehicular movement.

On the other hand, 32km Kushtia-Rajbari road is severely damaged.

People travelling on the roads are likely to suffer.

RHD Executive engineers in Bagerhat, Kushtia, Magura and Jessore said allocations have already been made for repairing the roads and the work has already started.

 

[Our Comilla correspondent Khalid Bin Nazrul, Brahmanbaria correspondent Masuk Hridoy, Sylhet correspondent Dwoha Chowdhury and Kushtia correspondent Amanur Aman contributed to this report]

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