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Rebooting economy: Bangladesh plans to upgrade rural roads

2021-07-04, 7:07pm Development

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The government has planned to upgrade the country’s important rural roads to double-lane ones.

Dhaka, Jul 4 :  The government has planned to upgrade the country’s important rural roads to double-lane ones, aiming to unlock the untapped potentials of rural Bangladesh and thus reboot its economy and ensure improved wellbeing for its people.
 To achieve the goal, the government fixed a target in 2021-22 fiscal to construct 3,140 km of new roads, including expansion of the core road network, according to a budget document.
Besides, some 18,500 metres of bridges and culverts will be expanded and constructed on those roads in rural areas, the document shows.
A total of 8,500 kilometres of metalled roads and 3,800 metres of bridges and culverts will be maintained to make the constructed rural road infrastructure more usable and sustainable.
As a result of these interventions, the road network coverage in rural areas will increase from 36.75 percent to 38.50 percent," reads the document.
Besides, it says, some 130 growth centers and haat-bazaars will be developed to stimulate the agricultural economy, accelerate development, create jobs and increase agricultural and non- agricultural production by strengthening the supply chain.
Another target has been set to construct 770 km of roads and footpaths and 250 km of drains in urban areas.
Implementation of these projects will create direct jobs for 890 lakh man-days in the current fiscal year, and create opportunities for huge indirect employments.
The document mentions that there is no alternative to rural road development for sustaining the rural economy and continued development of the facilities in rural life.
"It’s possible to attain all other socio-economic targets, such as access to education and health, employment, poverty alleviation, women's empowerment and business ventures by ensuring improved rural road network."
In 2020-2021, the government expanded the road network coverage from 35.75 percent to 36.75 percent in rural areas.
Some 63,747 km of rural roads have been constructed across the country during the last 12 years of the present government -- from January 2009 to February 2021.
As a result, 94 percent of total upazila roads, 79.32 percent of union roads and 24 percent of rural roads have been completed.
During the period, the government built 321,322 metres of new bridges to ensure improved mobility to the rural population.
To make sure the benefits of development reach the remote areas of the country, maintenance of 80,825 km of metalled rural roads, 375 long bridges have been constructed as well.
In addition, as many as 1,438 Union Parishad Complex buildings, 346 Upazila Parishad Complex buildings have been constructed and expanded.
Besides, the document says, around 2,154 growth centres and haats-bazars have been developed and 1,762 cyclone shelters constructed to provide public services directly to the rural people.
Under the 'Amar Bari Amar Khamar' project across the country from July 2009 to June 2021, some 56.79 lakh families were selected as beneficiaries, as many as 120,465 village development societies were formed, and Tk 2,991.24 crore was distributed as recurring loan fund to the association with an estimated cost of Tk 7,885.27 crore.
Under the project, the amount of cumulative investment in the rural economy is Tk. 10,808.65 crore. Some 32.49 lakh income-generating small-scale agricultural farms have been created at the family level.
A total of 274,518 beneficiaries has been trained to enhance various trade-based skills in agricultural production and Tk 321.17 crore disbursed as SME loans among the selected 64,235 graduate members to generate small entrepreneurs at the marginal level.
Besides, the Palli Sanchay Bank, established under this project, will implement poverty alleviation programmes for about 57 lakh members of the project and will continue its efforts to make them small and medium entrepreneurs, the document ads, reports UNB.