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The dangers lurking below

  • Published at 01:05 am March 20th, 2017
The dangers lurking below
Uneven road surfaces, potholes and left open manholes, due to irresponsibility of city staff and lack of coordination between their offices, have turned Dhaka roads into death traps for the public. A man and a teenage girl died this month after falling through left open manholes in Paltan and Gazipur respectively. Many users of city roads are succumbing to accidents trying to dodge potholes, open manholes or bumpy, higher slabs the very last minute on the go. Most manholes and slabs covering sewage lines are either approximately four to five inches lower than the road surface or several inches higher. An official of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), seeking anonymity, said unevenness of roads was largely caused by the “almost nonexistent” coordination between different city offices. “Despite all the recent repair works of city roads, such uneven surfaces remained due to lack of proper monitoring and communication within the authorities concerned,” the official said. “Our roads are extremely dangerous for pedestrians, bikers or even car users,” he added. Three wheelers are also extremely vulnerable to open manholes, as they could easily capsize if one of its tires caught an open manhole or pothole. Uneven road surfaces are also slowing down the traffic to a large extent on some of the busiest roads in Dhaka. Although roads in Gulshan area have undergone heavy repair and maintenance work recently, almost the entire stretch of Gulshan Avenue Road is ridden with unusually high slabs, causing car drivers to avoid the right side of the road as much as possible, creating bottlenecks. Taqsem A Khan, managing director of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA), said, “Wasa maintains the evenness of manhole covers and slabs with the level of the roads. The city corporations however raise the height of roads when they carpet streets during repair work, creating uneven surfaces. They do not raise the manhole covers to match the increased heights of roads.” Authorities of both city corporations should have minded raising the level of manhole covers during road development work, he added. Taqsem assured he will instruct the engineering department of Wasa to consult with the engineering departments of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and DSCC to take necessary steps for leveling the city roads and minimise hazardous obstacles. Brigadier General Md Syeed Anwarul Islam, chief engineer of DNCC could not be reached for a comment despite several phone calls. DSCC Chief Engineer Farazi Shahabuddin Ahmed acknowledged the issue to the Dhaka Tribune, and assured the problems would be solved as soon as possible. “Wasa is the concerned authority for all the manhole covers in the city. Lack of communication between Wasa and city corporations is the cause of the problem,” he said. After completion of all the development work of all the roads, heights of the manhole covers and slabs would be readjusted in phases, he added.