The lazy mega projects of Dhaka city

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 11 Aug 2017, 19:59:26

The lazy mega projects of Dhaka city

The capital city has now more development projects than it ever had. Unfortunately, this is not going to provide a sense of relief that the projects promised about making living in Dhaka less cumbersome. No matter how well or not these are designed, the problem now is that the city dwellers are perilously trapped in a state of limbo as no one can tell for sure when these are going to be completed. This is simply because most of the projects are snagged with time over-run resulting in huge cost over-run too, and consequently it is the common people who are the ultimate sufferers. 

The projects sound grand; and when these were at their early stages of launching with loud promises doled out for public consumption, gullible people believed that things were heading for the better. One need not be cynical about the outcome of the projects until these are done. But the big question that one cannot afford to escape is whether the authorities were competent enough to undertake such mega activities, that too simultaneously.  With the repeated missing out on deadlines, it appears unlikely that those involved with the projects, including foreign contractors, were well equipped to execute them in a professional manner. The elevated expressway, flyover and Hatirjheel development project are no doubt big projects and the government did take plenty of time before announcing completion deadline. Experts have blamed inefficiency of the agencies concerned, impractical planning, administrative barriers, lack of mitigation plan and lenience of the authorities towards the contractors for the untold public sufferings. 

One glaring example is the Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover project. Construction of the 8.25-kilometre flyover commenced in February 2013, and so far, its completion deadline has been extended four times. As a result, the project cost surged by about 57 per cent, according to official sources. The same is the case with the 26-kilometre Dhaka elevated expressway project which was scheduled to be completed by 2014 but the main construction work is still to begin due to various snags. Another project, Hatirjheel development project was taken in 2007 and was scheduled to end by 2010 but works under the project are still going on even after extension for the sixth time, as of now. These are all bland narratives of the big and ambitious projects, and taking stock of the numerous smaller ones would reveal an equally appalling picture 

Now, what is it that has become almost a malady in the form of slow progress of the much-hyped development projects? Putting the blame on inefficiency may not suffice to identify what actually is so critically wrong with the mechanism of project execution. Some observers are of the view that incorporation of additional components by the government after completion of project design seriously hampers progress of work at the implementation stage leading to time over-run. There are others who tend to view the incapacity of both government agencies and construction firms in identifying the real barriers to the projects at the implementation stage. Whatever may be the case, the people have suffered enough and no excuse is going to lessen the burden of their sufferings until the projects really get completed.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
Published by the Editor for International Publications Limited from Tropicana Tower (4th floor), 45, Topkhana Road, GPO Box : 2526 Dhaka- 1000 and printed by him from City Publishing House Ltd., 1 RK Mission Road, Dhaka-1000.
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