Vehicles first, then roadwork!

RHD seeks one pickup, one motorcycle costing Tk 5.2m to monitor 11km road building

FHM Humayan Kabir | Published: August 18, 2018 09:53:21 | Updated: August 19, 2018 10:41:27

RHD file photo

The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) will purchase two vehicles to monitor construction of an 11kilometres road in Netrakona, officials said on Friday.

The RHD claimed it has proposed to buy one luxury double-cabin pickup and one motorcycle at a cost of Tk 5.2 million for supervise the work.

In addition, the road developer has sought Tk 0.80 million for purchasing fuel for the vehicles.

The proposed vehicles will be used for the Challisha (Bagra)-Kuniya-Medni Bazar road development project.

The RHD recently sought approval of the Tk 3.14-billion project from the Planning Commission (PC).

"The RHD will build only 11kms linking road. Should it buy two vehicles at the taxpayers' cost to monitor work?" said a senior PC official seeking anonymity.

"Don't they have any vehicles at the district office?" he posed a question.

The official said, "We believe it's a waste of public funds as the RHD already has some vehicles in districts and zonal offices…for monitoring work on a small road."

The cost of the Netrakona project seems to be swollen as Tk 3.14 billion for only 11.30km road is comparatively higher in Bangladesh, he added.

Dr Selim Raihan, who teaches economics at Dhaka University, said the authorities should strictly monitor such inflated development projects.

"This is simply a waste of the hard-earned money. If an 11 kms road project needs two vehicles, it's an ambitious one for a country like Bangladesh," he told the FE.

When contacted, a senior RHD official said they need to invest a major portion of the funds for land acquisition, compensation and earthwork.

Some Tk 1.36 billion will be required to acquire 36.21 hectares of land and compensate the victims, he said.

Besides, the RHD will require Tk 357.55 million for earthwork, the official told the FE.

The PC official said the RHD has proposed to build the 11.3 kms road in three years.

"If a small road requires three years to construct, how will the development activities be materialised properly?" he queried.

The official said they will scrutinise the project for examining its feasibility and necessity.

Prof Raihan said, "… we've noticed that the government is spending inflated funds for building many roads which become unusable within a year or two."

"So, the government should ensure the quality of the roads and their lifetime," he added.

RHD chief engineer Ebne Alam Hasan was not available for comment.

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