The government has taken a special move to repair rural road infrastructures damaged by natural calamities and excessive rains in the last two years.
Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) is going to implement a project in this regard at an estimated cost of Tk 2,785 crore.The LGED’s project titled ‘Rehabilitation of rural road infrastructure damaged by floods and disasters’ will be tabled at the next meeting of Ecnec for final approval, Planning Commission sources said.
The scheme seeks to reconstruct or repair the rural roads, bridges and culverts that were severely or lightly damaged by natural disasters like floods, cyclones and excessive rains in 2016 and 2017.
This project was not included in the project list of 2017-18 fiscal year’s ADP, but the government has renamed an unapproved new project of ADP as the above title, which was designed to repair damaged roads caused by cyclone Roanu in 2016, official sources said.
The project is being picked up after the Planning Commission decided not to curtail local resources allocation in RADP and reallocate the unutilised local money to local government for reconstructing the dilapidated rural roads.
“Rural road network will improve further once the project is implemented. The rural roads, bridges and culverts damaged by floods and disasters will be reconstructed or repaired under the scheme,” said Samsuddin Azad Chowdhury, a Planning Commission member.
He said it will lower transport cost, increase farm and non-farm production in rural areas apart from creating employment and contributing to rural poverty reduction.The entire estimated project money will come from the state coffer and there is no project aid.
No feasibility study has been done on the project. However, local government division attached a report styled ‘Damage Assessment Report of Rural Roads’ to the proposal, which it said has been prepared on floods and cyclone Roanu losses in 2016 and floods and excessive rainfall in 2017, official sources said.
While giving preliminary nod to the scheme, the Planning Commission has instructed the local government division that LGED’s ongoing schemes do not overlap with the proposed scheme.
Under the scheme, the government plans to rehabilitate 837.95km heavily damaged roads and 1,567km less damaged roads at upazila level, 256km heavily damaged and 780.31km less damaged roads at union level and 109.23km severely damaged and 215.15km lightly damaged roads at village level.
Furthermore, 3,284km rural bridges and 716km culverts will be reconstructed under the proposed projects, the commission sources said.
During 2016 floods, 12 north-central districts were affected and excessive rains started from the month of April. Besides, excessive rain and floods hit Sylhet, Dhaka and Chittagong regions from May last year.
Later in June and July months, Chittagong and Sylhet regions were also hit by rains, causing landslide and loss of lives in Rangamati and other hilly districts.
As a result, rural road network in four districts of Sylhet, three hilly districts, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar districts got severely damaged.
Moreover, most of the northern districts suffered heavy floods due to unusual rise in major river flows. According to ecologists, the unusual rains and floods were the negative impacts of climate change.
The major thinking behind the project was that it is very important to rehabilitate the damaged roads and network, otherwise rural employment and economy might face a slowdown.