The cracks that developed due to use of poor quality materials during construction of twelve U-drains and a box-culvert in a former enclave were repaired hurriedly at night to cover up the shoddy construction work, locals alleged.
Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) officials said five U-drains in a package were built at a cost of Tk 4.71 lakh in former enclave Bhitorkuti under Sadar upazila.
Construction of seven other U-drains, a box-culvert and a 2.29 km road of another package will cost Tk 1.41 crore, of which the U-drains and box-culvert were constructed in the last six months in the enclave while the road is under construction.
Abdus Salem, 48, a farmer of the former enclave, said cracks developed in the newly-constructed U-drains and box-culvert as they were built using low quality materials, adding that they would not be sustainable.
“We didn't see any LGED official while these infrastructures were being constructed,” said Emdadul Haque, 40, adding that they protested the use of low quality materials but no one listened to them.
Residents of the former enclave claimed that there were irregularities and corruption in the development work, but the authorities of LGED rejected the claims.
Ayub Ali, 65, said LGED officials and the contractor are earning money through the development work. “Some U-drains were constructed without any plan, so those would not bring any benefit for the former enclave people,” he said.
Shafat Ullah, 68, said, “We believe that the government sanctions fund as required for building sustainable infrastructures, but LGED officials and the contractor are allegedly doing low quality, unplanned work.” “The contractor building the road is not following the schedule,” he added.
Sub-Assistant Engineer of Sadar Upazila LGED Jagobandhu Roy said he was not on the site when the U-drains and box culvert were constructed in the last six months, but he is monitoring the road construction properly.
Acting Engineer of Lalmonirhat Sadar LGED Masud Rana said he is not aware of the details of the development work in the former enclave as he is only acting engineer.
Executive Engineer of LGED in Lalmonirhat Al Amin Khan claimed the U-drains and box culvert were constructed following the schedule properly, and no irregularities or corruption were found. “I visited the sites a month back and checked whether there were any irregularities or corruption, but I didn't find any corruption,” he said, adding that construction of the road is going on properly.