Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Monday, September 21, 2015, Aswin 6, 1422 BS, Zilhaj 6, 1436 Hijr

Mr Transport Minister, just talking is no help !
Anis Ahmed
Published :Monday, 21 September, 2015,  Time : 10:48 AM  View Count : 45
We make the humble submission to Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader - have you made it on the highways today, when millions of people began home-bound journeys to celebrate Eid ul-Azha with their families and friends on Friday next.
If you did, you would have instantly realised and ashamed how unrealistic were your promises to the countrymen to make their journey through highways hassle free and comfortable. You made the promise over the years, every time with a "near 100 percent" guarantee that next time on the road will be memorable in terms of smooth journey.
People trusted you or at least tended to trust you as one of the most outspoken and agile Minister in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's cabinet. But every time you proved wrong because by traveling through the highways in buses or private vehicles the commuters would have nearly broken their limbs due to cracked, pot holed and otherwise dilapidated driveways. You also failed to ensure safe road journeys because your Ministry and BRTA could not guarantee trained drivers and safety of road transports by controlling the 'mafia' groups in the transport sector.
 We experienced the same during the Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Azha, the two biggest Muslim festivals when streams of men, women and children head out of capital Dhaka for village homes.
But much of their enthusiasm end up in frustration and fear as they confront bad roads, hazardous drive and at times meet fatal accidents.   
Over the years we have heard you making lofty promises on the occasion  of  every Eid that your Ministry will immediately launch repair and reconstruction of bad roads so that by the same time next year it would be quite a different experience. And, like every time before, this year also you retreated from your assurance, just few days before the coming festival, by saying that making all the roads and highways fully motor-worthy was an impossible task. So, people will have to wait another 12 months or so. Why is this? Why you can't predict your inability to keep your words and why you try to befool people every time raising false hopes? Their journeys become perilous and people's trust on you becomes shattered - may be you don't care or bother.
As a very experienced politician and active Minister, you should walk a way that you can really pace on time. You know better than anyone the conditions of the roads and highways across the country - and your limitations, too. We feel constrained to see that there are very few initiatives made throughout the year to correct the faults, make the unworthy roads worthy of safe driving and ensure people's safe and comfortable foray to homes.
You hold a very important Ministry, that is now expanded to include the bridges, which is a very crucial part of transportation network. So, as the Minister you should not just do paperwork but make and try to enforce decisions on the ground.
You were also heard saying that if the Minister and Secretary (of a Ministry) are honest, things can be done in an honest way while corruption takes the back seat. We assume you are honest and people who work next to you in your Ministry are honest too! Then, why don't we see any improvement in your Ministry's activities? Are we wrong in our assumption?   
Many people by this time have started branding you as a "chatterbox" with little or no real action afoot. But we want to see you as the "pandora's box" in the least - because that will reveal some hope in the end and you will like to act upon them.
You have promised over the years to make major highways four-lane and the single-lanes to double. You assured about flyovers in Dhaka city But in most cases there is little or no progress yet. The existing highways in some parts are a nightmare to drive along.  The massive home-bound influx on the eve of Eid ul-Azha will begin from Wednesday. But days before it the situation on many highways are precarious having long tailback of vehicles. On the Dhaka-Tangail highway, people yesterday (Sunday) waited for hours together caught in a 20-km tailback. In the coming days, the streams of vehicles moving at snail's pace will get longer and people will suffer immensely. The worst sufferers are the children, women and elderly.
Can you do anything to address this issue? Not now, as you have no time in hand. After the Eid, please move resolutely and make promises that you can keep. Bangladesh is a fast developing country and it will fall back unless the highways match international standards.
We have already suffered investors' apathy because of poor infrastructure, mi9nd-blowing traffic jam, along with other constraints. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is trying to overcome this perception but you all should be integral part of the initiative. Therefore, we would expect the roads and highways to assume proper shape and dimension before the international image of Bangladesh starts sliding back.
Just talking is no help. Please act and translate your words into action. Bangladesh has many potentials: global leaders, investors and experts say without any hesitation or reservation. But it's the failure of politicians and officials that we are still behind of many. The country suffers despite golden targets have been set. We all must work together, including you and your colleagues, to realize the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh MJujibur Rahman to make Bangladesh a 'golden Bengal.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]