The Jatrabari-Gulistan flyover in the capital, and its much-hyped potential to reduce traffic congestion, especially in the older parts of the city, have risen to mythical proportions.
But authorities failed to provide a definitive date of completion to finish construction of the structure, having failed to meet half a dozen deadlines.
The executive agency of the project, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) would not say for certain when construction work would end.
The only thing that DSCC high officials are certain about is that the opening of Jatrabari-Gulistan flyover, also called the Mayor Hanif flyover, is uncertain.
The latest in the string of deadlines, officials of the Orion Group assured Jahangir Kabir Nanak, state minister of the local government and rural development (LGRD) ministry, that they would finish work by July.
When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the flyover in June 2010, Orion Group had given assurances of finishing the construction work within two years, ie by June 2012.
In April 2012, the junior LGRD minister announced the flyover would be open to vehicular traffic on December 16, 2012. Later last year, yet another deadline was given by M Ashiqur Rahman, the Jatrabari-Gulistan flyover project director (PD) and superintendent engineer of DSCC: March 26, 2013.
In April this year, Ashiqur told the Dhaka Tribune that they would finish by June.
When contacted again, Ashiqur refused to give any further updates about the completion of the project.
PD Ashiqur told this reporter he had been instructed by DCC authorities not give out information to any journalists. He advised this reporter to contact “higher authorities” for information.
When contacted, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DSCC Ansar Ali said: “I do not know anything about the date of opening of the flyover. The PD is the relevant authority, and he will tell you everything about it.”
When this reporter said he was referred to him by the PD, the CEO angrily said: “We are not bound to give information to journalists. The only thing that I can tell you right now is the opening of the Jatrabari-Gulistan Flyover is uncertain.”
Meanwhile, residents of the older parts of the capital have for three years been breathing air heavily saturated with construction dust, and travelling on narrow roads that resemble ploughed cornfields, hoping their hardship would be over once construction of the flyover was finished.
They have complained that construction was moving very slowly, and they were not sure it would be completed anytime soon.