COMPLETING WORK ON THE DHAKA-CHITTAGONG HIGHWAY
Presently, the Dhaka-Chittagong highway is considered as the busiest one in the whole country. It is a major highway for the movement of people, no doubt. But its greater significance lies in the fact that the lion’s share of the export and import cargoes of the country travel from Dhaka to Chittagong and vice versa as well as other destinations by using it on a daily basis.
But over time, the heavily used road has become unsuitable to meet all the demands on it, efficiently. The expansion of the country’s economy, the increase in the volume of commercial cargoes thereof, all these are putting more and more pressures on this road. Not only for meeting the much greater needs of transportation nowadays compared to the past, but also for getting ready to cope successfully with what are certain to be substantially higher traffic loads on it in the future, the Dhaka-Chittagong highway required urgent uplift and expansion of its capacities. Thus, a project was taken up from 2009 to increase its capacities.
But the latest information on progress in this work is not so satisfactory. According to media reports only 50 per cent of work on this project has been completed so far in the last three years against the target of 71 per cent. Thus, timely completion of it is unlikely. Policymakers and all other stakeholders need to take a hard look at the factors which are frustrating its advance through a prompt review. This should be followed by taking of steps to address these issues at the fastest.
According to media reports, the project is stalling from a scarcity of funds. Contractors engaged to it are sitting on the fence not doing any work on the plea of funds not released to them. But it is a pity that such a pivotal project– after starting –should now slow down in its implementation from shortage of funds.
Why special measures are not being taken to mobilse funds for it with a sense of emergency ? Why far less important projects from the Annual Development Plan (ADP) are not dropped and resources meant for these diverted to this nationally very important project to see it through ? Surely, returns from this highway project are certain to be so much the greater compared to the non important ones.
MARCH 11, 2014