The government has decided to impose one compensation rate for digging roads in every city corporation area across the country, in a bid to discourage frequent excavations, reduce air pollution, and readjust repair costs.
This new compensation rate will be raised to the one currently charged by two Dhaka city corporations, and will come with the same conditions applicable to the capital.
Following a meeting, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development (LGRD) and Co-operatives on February 23 sent a proposal in this regard to the finance ministry for approval. The Business Post has obtained a copy of the document.
People familiar with the matter said a gadget will be published soon after the proposal gets a nod from the finance ministry.
According to sources, if the proposed policy comes into effect, the compensation fee will increase two to five times than the existing rates in city corporations outside Dhaka.
What’s the new proposal?
Speaking at the recent meeting, Local Government Division Secretary Muhammad Ibrahim said the government in September last year introduced a policy to prevent unplanned excavation of roads.
Under the policy, the road excavation compensation fee for Dhaka metropolis has already been fixed. The Chattogram City Corporation in October last year pledged to collect the same fee in this regard as the one set for Dhaka.
He added, “All the city corporations are very developed now. Cities are spending a lot on road construction and maintenance. When the roads are excavated, it costs a lot of money to bring them to the previous state through renovation.
“Considering this reality, the same fee is being fixed for all city corporations.”
The major service providing agencies that are usually responsible for road excavation in city corporation areas include the Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC), Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO), Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA), and other gas distribution companies.
If the LGRD ministry proposal gets approved, the new fees will be applicable to all new and old road digging projects of service providing agencies.
If necessary, authorities will have to revise the development project proposal (DPP) of the project to adjust the rate.
Secretary Ibrahim further said, “Utility ducts should be kept at the time of construction of any city corporation road and drain. If necessary, the service providing agencies will be able to rent it from the city corporation authorities.”
The city corporation will make the decision in this regard after discussing with all parties concerned.
Existing and proposed rates
Before the new road excavation policy was introduced in September 2022, the compensation for road digging in the capital used to be fixed according to the 2017 rate chart of the city corporation.
In the latest rate chart, the compensation fee has been set after reviewing the prices of various construction materials, including bitumen, rod, brick, stone, sand, and workers’ wages.
Under the proposed rules, road digging in the city corporations outside Dhaka will cost the same, which is two to five times higher than the existing fees.
According to city corporation officials, this will make it easier to carry out the repair activities after the road excavation is complete.
The LGRD ministry has proposed to increase the fees at three levels depending on the nature of excavation work, which are Open Excavation Method, Horizontal Directional Drilling with Casing and Horizontal Directional Drilling without Casing.
According to Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) sources, authorities collect the road digging fee as per the rate fixed in 2012.
At present, for open excavation, the rate is set at Tk 97 per square metre for digging unpaved roads with one and a half metres depth. Under the proposed policy, this rate will increase to Tk 482.
For brick pavement roads, the fee will increase from the existing Tk 990 to Tk 1,792. For bituminous roads, the fee will jump to Tk 7,871 from Tk 3,190.
The fee will rise to Tk 4,946 from Tk 1,824 for cement concrete roads, Tk 6,708 from Tk 2,625 for reinforced cement concrete roads and Tk 4,356 from Tk 1,898 for footpaths paved with engraved concrete cement tiles.
Moreover, under the proposed policy, for excavating roads with more than one and a half metres depth, the compensation fee has been increased from Tk 97-428 for digging per square metre of unpaved roads, from Tk 1,150 to Tk 2,033 for brick pavement roads, from Tk 3,325 to Tk 9,619 for bituminous road, from Tk 1,969 to Tk 6,151 for cement concrete roads, from Tk 2,771 to from Tk 7,930 for reinforced cement concrete roads, and from Tk 2,044 to Tk 4,968 for footpaths paved with engraved concrete cement tiles.
For excavating roads using horizontal directional drilling with or without casing, the fee might be further increased depending on the characteristics of the roads. Under the proposed policy, the minimum fee has been set at Tk 24 and the maximum at Tk 1,652.91 per square metre.
Currently, the rate of compensation is calculated at the rate schedule for road repair, which is collected by the city corporation. The compensation has to be paid, alongside the same amount of collateral, before the beginning of the road excavation. The money is used to repair the roads after the excavation.
Meanwhile, contractors will have to abide by 22 conditions to dig roads in the capital.
The conditions include, advertising in newspapers about the road excavation at least three days before beginning work, informing local residents by announcing the excavation work through local cable operators and loudspeakers, notifying the local police station and the ward councillor, removing the excavated soil within 24 hours, keeping the road suitable for traffic flow before handing it over to the city corporation, fixing any utility lines of any organisation if damaged during the excavation.
However, the city corporation has the jurisdiction to postpone or withdraw approval of any excavation in public interest without any explanation, and the company appointed for the excavation must accept the decision without any objection.