Where darkness rules the roost after dusk

Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover

Saif Uddin | Published: May 27, 2019 10:02:50 | Updated: May 27, 2019 16:23:39

The Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover enveloped by darkness recently in the absence of adequate lights — FE photo by KAZ Sumon

The busy Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover plunges into darkness soon after dusk, making people wary about using it.

All segments of the flyover do have lampposts and lamps but no power supply barring one or two spots.

The flyover which was opened to traffic partially in March, 2016 and then in October, 2017 was never lighted up after dusk except for a few weeks after its inauguration.

The agency responsible for constructing the flyover, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), remained indifferent to the task of illuminating the flyover. The two city corporations that assumed the responsibility of maintaining the flyover six months back are also not behaving differently.

Taking advantage of the darkness, locals said, criminal activities like mugging and snatching do take place at some points of the 8.7-kilometre flyover, particularly during the dead hours of night.

During a visit to the flyover in the evening, this FE correspondent had found all segments of the flyover plunged into darkness and vehicles plying those with utmost caution. Still accidents do take place often, a resident living close to the Moghbazar-Tejgaon segment of the flyover said.

Sadat Kiron, a university student who was biking from Holy Family crossing to Karwanbazar, told the FE that he shuttles between Kakrail and Kalabagan regularly using the flyover.

"The flyover has come as a blessing for me. It has reduced my travelling time from my workplace at Kakrail to my residence at Kalabagan, substantially," he said.

But darkness that engulfs the flyover in the evening creates a serious problem for the bikers like him and drivers of other motor vehicles, he added.

"Near the Hatirjheel crossing, I often get confused where to take a left turn for Kawranbazar or go straight to Saatrasta intersection as there is no streetlight. Even road signals are not visible there," he added.

Hossain Mia, a private car driver, said he frequently uses the flyover, risking accidents after dusk.

"Located in the middle of Dhaka city, the flyover is used by a large number of vehicles amid risks of accidents," he said, adding that during first couple of months after the inauguration of the flyover, there was no problem with lights.

"Now we depend on headlights of our cars while crossing the elevated pathway," he said.

Sources said the flyover has remained in total darkness since some criminals had stolen electric cables and other accessories more than a year back.

The 8.7-kilometre flyover, constructed with assistance from the Saudi Fund for Development and the OPEC Fund for International Development was opened to traffic in October 2017 after the first phase was inaugurated in March 2016.

Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) implemented the flyover construction project at a cost of about Tk 12.19 billion between 2013 and 2017.

An official of LGED said one year after its completion, they passed the flyover's responsibility onto the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).

When contacted, DSCC's Chief Estate Officer Md Asaduzzaman said the two city corporations took over the flyover's responsibility by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the end of last year.

The DSCC also received related documents from LGED, he said, adding that those papers are now in possession of engineering department, which is supposed to take next course of actions.

Another official of the DSCC, on condition of anonymity, said the two city corporations took responsibility on November 8 last year.

"Later in December last, we submitted a project proposal to the ministry (local government division) for installing the lighting system in the flyover," he added.

The DSCC sought Tk 489.6 million for new led lights, related accessories, repair, maintenance and beautification of the flyover, he said.

Most parts of the flyover are under the DSCC while some parts including Karwan Bazar and Saatrasta are under the jurisdiction of the DNCC.

Despite frequent attempts, this correspondent did fail to get comments from the DNCC engineering department in this regard.

The construction work of the flyover has drawn criticism for several design faults and traffic signal at Mouchak-Malibagh intersection.


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