POST TIME: 3 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Poor road condition

Poor road condition

When the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 announced that Bangladesh has second-worst roads in Asia, it did not surprise us. While in the scales of extensiveness and condition of road infrastructure, Singapore has the best road infrastructure, Bangladesh ranked at 113 among the Asian countries, only followed by Nepal. The roads are before us all and we know what we experience daily when commute through these roads. But the news of poor roads saddens us greatly when we think that our country spends no less than the amount a developed country spends to build the same size of road infrastructure. Here money is sanctioned to make a top-grade road, but the money is not properly spent: it goes to the pockets of people involved in different of stages of the road construction. That is why it would not be inappropriate to say that it is because of the corruption of the relevant people, the country fails to have well-paved roads.

Even the poorly constructed roads here are not given enough regular maintenance and care. Once a road is constructed, it is left there to their final stage of degradation. Everyday people suffer for bad roads, but sufferings come to focus when the monsoon or two Eid festival arrive. During these periods we notice some cosmetic operations are made—that also is true only about the country’s few highways—for smooth journey of travellers, but once that period is over, the repaired highways come back to their previous state soon, because even this work is not done properly.

The broader picture of roads in the cities and towns is even worse. Even in the capital Dhaka, the streets are in poor condition in most localities. A mild shower rainfall exposes how badly the city’s roads and streets are engineered as water logging makes movement of vehicles as well as pedestrians extremely difficult.  The condition of roads is further aggravated by the unruly traffic for which it is not only the drivers who are responsible, but the traffic police has also to take much of the blame to share. However, for the poor condition of roads, the country is losing steadily in economic terms as they act as discouraging factor as far as both the foreign as well as local investment is concerned.

No one would expect that World Economic Forum’s recent report would go well with the foreign investors. For improving the road condition, it is urgent to ensure that the fund for building this crucial infrastructure is properly spent in terms of its engineering, construction and maintenance.