In our country, a large number of people die in road crashes every year. Development of large potholes on roads following rains is one of the reasons behind the fatal traffic mishaps. Because of lust for much profit, contractors use sub-standard bitumen for road construction. It results in missing of blacktop or asphalt in large chunks from the thoroughfares. Reckless drivers ply their vehicles at high speed along the damaged roads causing fatal road crashes and loss of valuable lives.
We are not aware whether the local government engineering department (LGED) or the city corporations regularly maintain road inspections or not. As soon as any pothole is detected on a road, it is customary on the part of the authorities concerned to take measures to do the needful; otherwise sufferings of commuters mount alongside the rising cost of road renovation. But, we are accustomed to observing a routine business involving hundreds of crores of taka paving way for earning unlimited profits for unscrupulous people. Because of massive irregularities in road construction, the members of public suffer. Now, time has come to bring an end to their sufferings.As per experts, the state-owned Eastern Refinery maintains an ideal standard while producing bitumen. So, it has a great demand all over. Because of its high demand, it is not easily available for road construction work. Taking advantage, dishonest importers import low quality and cheap bitumen from abroad. When this bitumen is used for construction of roads, it cannot ensure road durability and longevity. So, experts have opined for maintaining quality control of bitumen by taking help from the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute, the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and the Environmental Research Laboratory.
In an effort to prevent import of sub-standard bitumen, they have suggested for increasing its local production. However, we can see a ray of hope. It is that the Bashundhara Group has taken an initiative in this regard. It has established a polymer modified bitumen plant for producing high quality bitumen. We hope that alongside the Eastern Refinery, it will be able to meet the growing demand of quality bitumen at home.