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
But much of their enthusiasm end up in frustration and fear
as they confront bad roads, hazardous drive and at times meet fatal
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.