Lax quality control is hurting the future of development

My News Bangladesh

Authorities must ensure quality, prevent irregularities in construction projects

Hardly a week after the construction of a road in Faridpur’s Sadar upazila, parts of it reportedly collapsed.  Such incidents, unfortunately, are getting too frequent for them to be considered “isolated”, thus revealing a pattern of mismanagement and lax quality control in the development projects undertaken by the government. In the Faridpur case, cracks were seen in at least eight locations along the 800-metre portion of the road in question, which was completed on June 21. The total budget for the two-kilometre road project is over Tk 2.17 crore, which means that nearly 40 percent of the fund has been wasted on a shoddy construction work.

Is it any surprise that the collapse is being linked to the use of low-quality construction materials and lax monitoring by the relevant authorities? As usual, when asked, they sought to shirk their responsibility by blaming heavy rainfall and sandy soil underneath the road for its damage. One cannot help but wonder why these very predictable factors were not taken into consideration before or during the construction.

The Faridpur incident reminds us of a bridge in Tangail, built at a cost of Tk 54 lakh, which had tilted even before it could be inaugurated and was then left in that state for five years. Or think about when, in March last year, a road in Kishoreganj was found damaged just a week after its construction. This trend of shoddy construction shines a bright light on our current development policy which is often marked by poor planning, rampant corruption, lack of monitoring and accountability. We have frequently raised our concerns in this regard in the past.

We urge the LGED authorities in Faridpur to immediately undertake repairs to make the road operational and ensure that the responsible contractor is brought to book. Such questionable practices undermine the purpose of development and rather increase public suffering. Quality control is a vital part of any construction project, and must be treated as such by all stakeholders.

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