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The roads not taken

  • Published at 11:57 pm December 20th, 2019
Photo: NASHIRUL ISLAM
Photo: NASHIRUL ISLAM

Good roads are a hallmark for any developed nation

When it comes to the construction of our roads, Bangladesh unfortunately does not have the best record. In fact, the poor condition of our roads and highways are a constant source of misery for the commuting public. 

As such, we appreciate the government aiming to bring some accountability in this regard, with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal asking authorities concerned to ensure quality or have their funding revoked.

Studies carried out by the World Bank have shown that Bangladesh spends the highest amount of money on road construction in the world, but provides the worst quality of work for it.

This is a travesty, and makes a mockery of how public funds are used to provide a better experience to the people of this country.

This undoubtedly comes from a culture of corruption that allows ill-equipped contractors to get government contracts for construction work, on top of severe cases of incompetence and inefficiency which cannot ensure that the work provided is done, and is done well.

As anyone living in this country can attest to, there is absolutely no guarantee when construction on a road will start and, worst of all, when it will end, and whether the work done will last. 

A big problem remains accountability, and in this regard, the Roads and Highways Department needs to get their act together and ensure that the work is being outsourced to competent contractors and that they are actually utilizing public funds to the best of their ability.

As the finance minister has said, if contractors are found to be providing work that is below par, they should be penalized. 

We must end this culture of inefficiency once and for all -- good roads are a hallmark for any developed nation, and we are surely falling behind in that regard.