Slow work causes sufferings to EPZ workers

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Slow progress of 15.5-km-long Saidpur-Nilphamari highway construction via Uttara Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is causing sufferings to 35 thousand workers of the EPZ.

Besides, transport of raw materials and goods to and from the EPZ factories is also being affected due to the incomplete road.

The highway is being constructed in two segments — one by Navana Construction Ltd and the other by a consortium of several construction farms.

With only two months till the deadline, Navana completed only 15 percent of its 8-km segment, while the consortium finished 55 percent of their segment of 7.5 km.

He also said Additional Secretary Belayet Hossain of road transport and bridges ministry during a visit to the construction area in April expressed dissatisfaction over the poor progress of the work and asked officials concerned to take action against Navana.

Under the project, the existing 18-foot wide highway will be widened to 33 feet, said Shafiq Molla, sub divisional engineer of RHD, adding that Tk 110 crore of funding was allocated for land acquisition, while 90 crore for construction work.

The two contractors were issued work order last August with the deadline to finish the construction by August this year, he added.

While visiting the area recently, this correspondent did not find any activity of workers from contractor Navana at a large section of the project area — left without any protective measures — near Dhelapir Bazar where they did partial earth-filling six months ago.

Akhtar Hossain Badal, president of bus, minibus workers union in Nilphamari, said the construction work is too slow and the road has now become hazardous for all.

The road remains congested all throughout the day as it is used by 35 thousand EPZ workers and thousands of vehicles, said Farhanul Islam, acting president of Nilphamari Chamber of Commerce.

Contacted, Navana Construction Ltd Project Manager Ferdous Alam said their progress had been slow as they could not start work on time due to unavoidable circumstances.

However, they hope to make a considerable progress in the next couple of months, he added.

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