Syed Mizanur Rahman, a sub-contractor of a Dhaka North City Corporation's (DNCC) drainage system improvement project in Monipuripara area, is passing idle days at home, because none of his 40 workers is coming to work due to the countrywide shutdown being enforced to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The DNCC started installation of 3-feet-diameter concrete pipes on February 10 at several lanes at Monipuripara for discharging rainwater. So far, 70 percent of the concrete pipe installation and construction of required pits have been completed while the affected lanes are paved with macadam (brick chips and sand).
The project deadline is June and the sub-contractor has paid the workers' wages in advance.
"As the work is interrupted, 10-12 additional days are needed to complete the project. I have to bear the additional cost," Mizanur told The Business Standard.
Before March 26, the two city corporations in Dhaka started many developments works. City corporations' zonal executive engineers said they had to halt all the projects due to a lack of workers. Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) was carrying out road, drainage and footpath renovation in Mirpur.
Besides, work on a similar project worth Tk180 crore in Agargaon area stopped due to the unavailability of workers.
"Due to the shutdown, no worker is available and the fund worth Tk71 crore are now halted too," said Enamul adding, "The city dwellers will have to suffer in the coming monsoon because of the delay in completing the development works."
Development works by the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) face the same challenges. At least, eight development works, initiated by different utility services, have been postponed across the DSCC territory owing to the shutdown, DSCC officials shared with The Business Standard.
According to Saiful Islam, executive engineer of the DSCC's Zone 3, at least four development works – three by Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority and one by Dhaka Power Development Company – went on in Hazaribagh and Dhanmondi areas till March 25.
DSCC chief executive officer Shah Imdadul Haque, however, told The Business Standard the authorities did not ask the contractors to stop the works.
"The workers have fled in fear of coronavirus. The works will restart when the workers return from their village homes," said Imdadul.
The Dhaka Wasa was implementing its water supply network improvement project covering 1500 kilometres of roads in the city. The major roads including Ring Road, PC Culture area in Mohammadpur are now in dilapidated conditions as their works remained unfinished because of the shutdown.
Project Director Mohammed Akteruzzaman said around 100 kilometres of roads have already been dug up in the city's major roads in Uttara, Old Dhaka and Mohammadpur. The project features the installation of 10-inch-diameter high-density polyethene pipes replacing the older ones. The project period will expire in December 2021.
"All workers have gone away because of coronavirus. Moreover, Chinese employees under the construction firm are also absent," said Mohammed Akteruzzaman.
Under another project, the Dhaka Wasa was digging roads from Mirpur-10 intersection to Mirpur-14 for setting up sewerage supply lines. The work is also halted.