Vol. 5 Num 70 Thu. August 05, 2004  
Front Page

16,000km road, 285km rly links flood wrecked

The on-going flooding is feared to have already damaged about 16,000km of national road network and 285kms of railway tracks, dealing a severe blow to the economy.

Nearly 20,000 meters of bridges and culverts also have been destroyed, according to primary estimates of the Local Government Engineering Division and some other organisations.

The actual extent of flood damage could be ascertained once floodwaters recede completely, but a colossal fund might require to put the communication network back on functional stage, authorities feared.

The transportation of passengers and goods face great deal of danger every day in many city and rural areas as some 13,000km roads are totally damaged and 42,485km partially, says the Food and Disaster Management Department.

Initial survey shows 10,000km rural roads, and 3,494 bridges and culverts have been totally or partially damaged. The most affected communication systems are in Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Jamalpur, Mymensingh, Netrokona, Kishoreganj, Sirajganj, Tangail, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narsinghdi, Dhaka, Narayanganj, Shariatpur, Pabna, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Bogra, Naogaon, Barisal, Comilla, Chandpur and Kusthia.

The flooding, heaviest since Bangladesh's worst-ever floods in 1998, also caused vast damage to the communication system in the capital. The Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has already found damage to 492.80km roads and 32.70km footpaths, repairing of which might cost at least Tk 500 crore. But the DCC has no budget for the unscheduled repair.

Engineers of different departments fear that total cost for repair to national communication network might be far more than what has been allocated in the present ADP (Annual Development Program).

As the floodwaters continue to recede, the government and the donor agencies are now busy assessing damages. According to a preliminary information, the estimated cost for temporary and permanent rehabilitation of the damaged railway network alone is Tk 120 crore.

The World Bank is waiting for the government report on actual damage and the cost required for rehabilitation. The World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Department of Fund for International Development (DFID) would jointly give assistance to avoid any repetition in aid to repair communication system.

A top World Bank official said the international assistance may not come before four months, but the government should start the rehabilitation works as soon as possible to normalise the network.