The Financial Express

Road development and repairs cripple life for Cox's Bazar residents

| Updated: June 22, 2021 10:25:43

Road development and repairs cripple life for Cox's Bazar residents

The condition of the roads in Cox's Bazar city, including bypasses and alleyways, has been ravaged with the arrival of the monsoon season. Potholes are everywhere on the roads. During the monsoon, these fragile roads become muddy. The roads are so dilapidated that you hardly find a spot to land your feet firmly, let alone drive a vehicle. The city's residents are facing extreme sufferings.

The Cox's Bazar Development Authority has dug a three to four feet trench where eventually there will be the completely relaid main road of Cox's Bazar municipal town. Movement of passenger buses and other vehicles on this old 5.0 km road is barred. No heavy vehicles can enter this road from outside the city. Due to the dilapidated condition of the road, people cannot even walk.

Abul Kashem, a businessman on the city's Hospital Road, fell three-feet-deep into the trench during construction and broke his leg. He was bedridden for three months.

He said, "Looking at the condition of the road, it seems that the city dwellers have committed a sin so they are suffering in hell today. I have never seen any road development work without leaving a space for pedestrians anywhere on the road. For example I have seen before that development work was done on one side of the road leaving the other side free for commuting. Now I see the whole road has been dug."

Meanwhile, Cox's Bazar Municipality has started construction of new roads for the last one and half years. Simultaneously, 29 roads and bypasses of the city were demolished and drainage work was started. Construction of all the drains has not been completed even in a year and a half. As a result, every road has remains unpaved. These roads have become unsuitable for vehicular traffic. People are not able to move freely. There is no place to step on any street in the city during this monsoon.

On June 9, State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali MP at a workshop at Hotel Shaibal in Cox's Bazar said such a fragile condition of the roads in the tourist city could not have been imagined. "Nowhere else in Bangladesh is there such a miserable condition of the road on the way from the airport. It is necessary to develop the road quickly so that there is no misconception among the domestic and foreign tourists," he lamented.

Cox's Bazar Municipality Executive Engineer Md. Nurul Alam said Cox's Bazar Municipality started construction of 29 roads and bypasses a year and a half ago. The construction work spanning 32 km over the 29 roads has not been completed yet. It is being implemented with World Bank funding under the Municipal Governance and Services Project (MGSP) and UGP-3 project of the Local Government Department. The cost of this project is estimated at around Tk 5.0 billion.

Cox's Bazar Municipality Mayor Mujibur Rahman said road constructions have not been developed in Cox's Bazar Municipality since independence with any major budget project. For the next 50 years after independence, the citizens were in trouble with the roads. Now the planned development work of all the roads of the whole city is going on at the same time. At present, the citizens are suffering a lot, while work continues on road development. This work will be completed in the next six months by January 2022. Then the suffering of 50 years will no longer exist.

Cox's Bazar Development Authority Chairman Lt. Col. (Retd) Forkan Ahmed said the main road in Cox's Bazar town is very old. This road is constantly congested. Therefore, work is underway to widen the road from Zero Point Holiday Junction to Central Bus Terminal on the main road of Cox's Bazar city and upgrade it to Forlane. The development project of the road is slated to cost Tk 2.94 billion.

The CDA chairman admitted that the road development work, while for a good cause, is ironically having a crippling effect on life for Cox's Bazar residents, as the sheer extent of the work is making it difficult to move temporarily. But once the work is complete, the traffic will be reduced and the beauty of the tourist city will be enhanced. Given what they're suffering through, that better be true.

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