** More curbs on govt officials’ foreign trips ** Children take bath in the Buriganga River in Dhaka to ward off the scorching summer heat. This photo was taken from Buriganga embankment on Monday. NN photo ** Taposh wants shops shut early ** Economists differ with 6.22 per cent inflation rate rather it is about 12 per cent ** Public transport services in capital New law with a provision Tk 5 crore fine on cards ** Sweden takes formal decision to apply for NATO membership ** Drug Admin bans eight types of medicines ** Interpol's Dhaka office requests India to send PK Halder back to Bangladesh ** Dollar price jumps to Tk87.50 ** PK Halder to be brought back following set procedure: FM ** Sri Lanka out of petrol, economy in a precarious condition: PM Wickremesinghe ** Social resistance against grabbers a must to protect Tangail, Gazipur hillocks ** PK Halder on 3-day remand in West Bengal ** In front of Gulshan Society Mosque in the capital, a vested quarter filling parts of Gulshan-Banani Lake creating a land bridge effectively bypassing security checkpoints that protect Gulshan North Diplomatic Zone. This photo was taken on Sunday. NN photo ** All necessary steps will be taken to bring PK Halder back: AG ** Russia's ‘brutal invasion’ of Ukraine is faltering: NATO ** Vladimir Putin ‘seriously ill’: Ex British spy claimed ** It may take three to six months to bring back PK Halder: ACC prosecutor ** Ten killed in ‘racially motivated’ shooting in Buffalo, US ** People stand in queue to buy mustard oil from a small mill at Bata Signal in the Elephant Road area of Dhaka on Sunday. One customer is allowed to buy maximum 2 litres of oil, depending on production. Agency photo ** Fugitive chops off policeman's hand in Ctg ** PK Halder hooked in Kolkata: Government's easy plundering policy created too many such cases ** One of PK Halder's mansions in Ward No. 15 of Ashoknagar in North 24 Parganas district which has been sealed by the ED. Photo: Collected ** Scamstar PK Halder arrested in India ** Worse still to come, Lanka’s new PM warns **

Rebuilding old, dilapidated buildings sound nice: But another money wasting project

13 May 2022

IT IS good to know that the government is planning to reconstruct the old and dilapidated public residential buildings that have weakened over time. These buildings are dotted in the residential areas across the country. These old-fashioned buildings also give a shabby look. Keeping in mind the prediction that the country may be hit by a major earthquake anytime in future, this plan of the government indeed deserves praise. Therefore, the sooner this renovation plan is materialised the better.
But if our past experiences with building pieces of public structure by the government are any indicators to go by, we can hardly be sure that corruption and mismanagement would not turn our expectation from sweet to sour once the work of reconstruction begins. The stories of corruption surrounding the materialisation of this kind of public infrastructure projects are endless and bizarre.
From overestimation of the cost and tendering of the project to the actual work of construction, everywhere embezzlement of public funds takes place resulting in the poor quality of infrastructure. We have seen, rather horribly, that bamboos were used instead of iron rods in many instances, brick chips were used where stone chips were necessary and sanctioned cement was not used in due proportion and it was of poor quality. The corruption was so pervasive in many public infrastructure projects that science of civil engineering became a matter of fun in Bangladesh.     
Take for example the prime minister's Ashrayan-2 project for the rehabilitation for the homeless people. These tin-shade houses were constructed using so much substandard and low quality materials that many of these built houses collapsed before they were handed over to the poor. It was a case of real embarrassment.
Therefore, there is every necessity to become guarded right from the beginning that corruption does not enter the project of reconstructing the old residential buildings and the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) is strictly followed. When these buildings will be reconstructed with financial and technical support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it must be ensured that everything is rightly followed according to the plan so that once reconstructed they can really withstand a tremor measuring 7.5 in the Richter Scale.
Of the old public buildings there are some that have been declared as 'archeological heritage'. It is expected that these would not be demolished but retrofitted as has been declared by the government.

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