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Road restoration work worth Tk31 lakh vanishes in Habiganj

  • Published at 01:11 pm January 31st, 2019
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Picture showing poor level of construction on of one of the most important roads of in Habiganj city Dhaka Tribune

The authorities concerned have extensive evidence of the project’s corruption

Despite the government's announcement of its zero-tolerance policy against corruption and irregularities, construction companies responsible for building roads—and other government infrastructure—continue to feed their illegal and corrupt ambitions.

These companies are scamming everyone, from the government to the general people. Such an incident has occurred in the project restoring Habiganj city's main road.

The construction company, Yunus & Brothers, secured the open government tender and completed the restoration project—worth Tk31 lakh—in just 12 hours. They worked throughout the night to avoid the general public witnessing their process.

Locals are extremely agitated and frustrated because of the poor level of construction of one of the most important roads of the area. 

The authority concerned has received extensive evidence of corruption and irregularities in the restoration work of the road. Officials also have acknowledged the fact that nothing regarding the road restoration was done abiding by the announced schedule.

According to the executive engineer concerned, the road will be restored very soon and the contractor will not be billed if the road restoration project is not implemented as per instructions. 

Sources say the Habiganj Road and Highways Department opened bidding for tenders to restore Habiganj city’s main road on September 16, 2018. Mohammad Yunus & Brothers secured the tender worth Tk31 lakh on November 15, 2018.

The width of the road was supposed to be 18-22 feet, but the restored road is only 8-10 feet | Dhaka Tribune

Although the contracting company was supposed to finish its work by December 15 last year, the company used the general election as an excuse to delay work for more than a month. 

Then, as the city-dwellers slept, the contracting company started the road restoration project on Friday night, January 18, and within 12 hours, they declared their work was done.

According to the district Road and Highways Department tender, the thickness of the road was supposed to be 12 millimeters and its width 18-22 feet. However, the restored road was found to be two to three millimeters thick and the width of the road was only eight to 10 feet. This has made the locals express their deep concern and sheer disappointment regarding the restoration project.

Addressing the issue, Mohsin Ahmed, a local businessman said: "The restoration work was done during the night so that nobody could witness  their corruption and such poor construction. 

"All that was restored, any sign of the restoration, disappeared by the evening of the same day. Those who are responsible for such corruption and irregularities must be brought under the law and punished."

When queried about the proceedings District Awami League leader Selim Chowdhury said: "The quality of the restoration work is just poor. It is like they are scamming us. Restoration work worth Tk31 lakh, disappearing within 31 hours, is just ridiculous and alarming."

Acknowledging the irregularities, Shayestaganj Road and Highways Department's Sub-Divisional Engineer Jyotish Goswami said: "We have accurate evidence of the irregularities and corruption performed by the contractor concerned. 

"Immediate action will be taken against the guilty company. The road will be restored very soon."

Echoing the same notions, Mohammad Jahirul Islam, executive engineer of Habiganj district Road and Highways Department said: "A letter has been sent to the contractor, Mohammad Yunus & Brothers about the proceedings. 

"The company will not be paid until the restoration is properly done. In no way if it is not finished. Necessary measures will be taken upon further investigation. 

When contacted, the construction company Mohammad Yunus & Brothers refused to make any comments regarding the matter.