LGED: Activities of second rural transport improvement project

--Md. Mostafa Kamal, Project Director

Bangladesh, with a population of about 154.20 million and a land area of 147,570 square kilometers is amongst the most densely-populated countries in the world. The country is vulnerable to natural disasters and extremely sensitive to climate change impacts. However, the economy of Bangladesh has grown steadily during recent years due to macroeconomic stability, trade liberalization, improved private sector investment, climate and financial sector reform. Further, poverty has also decreased in the recent years, keeping Bangladesh on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015. Improved infrastructure, particularly roads, during the last decade, has Strongly chromatist  supported economic growth and poverty reduction. This strong performance is expected to continue, if exports continue to grow, remittances continue to recover and infrastructure services and connectivity is improved.

Poverty reduction remains a major challenge as about one-third of Bangladesh’s population still lives in poverty. Despite growing urbanization, the agricultural based rural economy remains critical for growth and employment. Improved rural transport infrastructure therefore, is key to meeting the challenges for rural connectivity and poverty reduction, where most of the poorest population live.

Recognizing of the long -term development challenges, the Government under the leadership of honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina adopted the Vision 2021. In the light of that the Sixth-Five Year Plan and associated Perspective Plan 2010-2021 has recognized that rural roads, inland water transport, and rural market networks, is are crucial factor, for the growth of the rural and national economy. Therefore Government is undertaking a series of rural development project, to improve the socio-economic condition of the poor.

The Government of Bangladesh is  implementing IDA assisted Second Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP-II) through Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) with a view to improve the rural infrastructure, which has a far-reaching contribution to the alleviation of poverty. LGED has already   credibly completed three IDA assisted Rural Development Projects.

Objectives

The primary objective of the project is to improve rural accessibility in the project areas and strengthen institutional capacity for sustainable rural road maintenance. The specific objectives would be to:

  • Improve rural accessibility and enhance sustainability;
  • Create employment opportunities for the rural poor including destitute women;
  • Create facilities to provide cheap, efficient and demand responsive rural transportation system;
  • Promote good governance and efficient delivery of rural infrastructure;
  • Improve sectroral governance of the maintenance;
  • Undertake pilot dredging and silt removal activities to revive the secondary water ways;
  • Assist LGED to implement the Institutional Development Plan;
  • Undertake road safety activities;
  • Build the capacity of the Market Management Committee and Market Users;

Project Area

The project area covers 26 districts: Dhaka, Gazipur, Munshigonj, Narayangonj, Narsingdi, Manikgonj, Mymenshingh, Jamalpur, Netrokona, Kishoregonj, Sherpur, Tangail, Comilla, B-Baria, Chandpur, Sylhet, Hobigonj, Sunamgonj, Moulvibazar, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Feni, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Pabna and Sirajgonj

Project Entity And Financial Summary

  • Executing agency: Local Government Engineering Department (Ministry of the  Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives)
  • Total project cost : 334,304.78 Lac (417 million)
  • IDA’s Share : 241,681.30 Lac (302 million)
  • GOB’s Share : 92,623.47 Lac (115.78 million)
  • Project Physical Components
  • A: Accessibility Improvement
  • Rural Roads Improvement
  • Rural Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance
  • Rural Waterways and Ghats
  • Growth Center Markets (GCMs)
  • B: Institutional Strengthening, Capacity Building and Governance Enhancement
  • Institutional Development and Governance
  • Project Implementation

C: Rural Transport Safety

  • Technical assistance support for integrating road safety engineering measures and awareness building to ensure improved safety along project roads.
  • Technical assistance for strengthening road safety capacity of the LGED.

D: Contingent Emergency Response Component

  • If any adverse natural disaster event occurs that causes a major calamity, the GoB may request the Bank to re-allocate project funds to support response and reconstruction.

Implementation Period: July 2012 To June 2017

Development Opportunities Of The Project

Physical infrastructure improvements under RTIP-II are expected to reduce rural poverty and stimulate economic development of rural communities in the 26 districts project covering about half of the population of the country. The rural accessibility in terms of population living within 2 km of all season roads in the  project area will be raised to 64% from 56.4% at the end of the project. In addition, 40% of the road network in the project areas would be in good condition (IRI less than 7). The project would generate 28 million person-days of direct employment through the road improvement and maintenance work.

Project Management

Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (MOLGRD&C) are responsible for the overall execution and implementation of the project. LGED has established a Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) headed by a Project Director and other associated staffs both at LGED HQ and field. They are responsible for carrying out day-to-day project activities. They will be assisted by management, design, supervision, financial management, environmental and social management consultant, institutional development expert, road safety specialist and social scientist.

Governance And Sustainability

The project is expected to improve governance in many ways including disobeying  project information in the website, adopting structured participatory approach at the local level and implementing Suggestion and Complaint Mechanism (SCM) involving the stakeholders and introducing e-Tendering. Operational sustainability will be achieved by the road maintenance policy, strong institutions, effective planning and management systems, and innovative construction and maintenance works. Institutional sustainability will be achieved by adopting a more devolved and dynamic ‘action learning’ approach. Social and environmental sustainability will be assured by building stakeholder ownership through enhanced participation of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) as well as the beneficiaries.