The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) was created in 1962 when the old 'Construction & Building (C&B) organisation was split into 2 separate bodies (the other being Public Works Department). RHD is responsible for the construction and the maintenance of the major road and bridge network of Bangladesh.
Since the Department was established the size of the major road network in Bangladesh has grown from 2,500 kms to the present network of 22,096.303 kms.
The RHD is headed by a Chief Engineer who is supported by a number of Additional Chief Engineers. It is responsible for an annual budget (2007-08) of Taka 3,462.75 crore, of which about Taka 2,546.79 Crore (1324.03 GoB & 680.21 Project part) is from the Annual Development Budget and Taka 915.96 crore from the Revenue Budget. The total number of posts in the Department is almost 20,000.
The departmental goal is that "The Roads and Highways Department is able to provide the People of Bangladesh with a safe, cost effective and well maintained road network".
And the purpose of the RHD is stated as follows:
"The Roads and Highways Department has a sustainable capacity to plan, manage and deliver its full range of responsibilities in respect of the main road and bridge network and to be accountable for these duties".
The Assets of Roads and Highways Department have been conservatively estimated at Taka 46,000 crore (US$8,000 million) of which by far the largest proportion is the value of the 22,096.303 kms of road and the 18,258 bridges. These assets are probably the greatest asset of any organisation in Bangladesh and maintaining their value is vital to its economy. This places a great responsibility on the Roads and Highways Department.
The recently proposed structure for RHD consists of five Headquarter Wings/Zones and seven Field Zones, each headed by an Additional Chief Engineer who reports directly to the Chief Engineer. In addition two ACEs will be assigned to manage foreign aided projects one for World Bank Projects and one for Asian Development Bank Projects. The proposed structure is shown on the left (Please click on the image for a better view). This structure involves the formation of two new Head Quarter Wings, namely the “Bridge Management Wing” and the “Management Services Wing” and many more detailed changes to the existing organisation.
The current sanctioned staff of the Department totals 9,431 comprising 688 Class I, 888 Class II, 4,548 Class III and 3,307 Class IV post. Out of this total figure there are currently about 4510 vacant posts all of which except about 323, are from Class III and Class IV staff. These figures for sanctioned staff however mask the fact that there are currently about 8726 temporary (development & deputation, work charged, muster roll and casual staff) employed by the Department giving a total of about 18,036 posts. Because of the Government restrictions on recruitment of Class III and Class IV staff and the total ban on recruitment of temporary staff most staff are now over 40 years of age and there is an increasing rate of retirement which should result in major changes in staff numbers during the next 5-10 years.
RHD has at it's disposal a huge amount of assets in the form of roads, bridges, land, ferries, equipment and buildings, the combined value of which has been conservatively estimated at Taka 46,000 Crore (approximately US$8,000 million). Of this, by far the greatest proportion consists of the 22,096.303 kilometres of road and the 18,258 bridges. This total asset value is the largest of any individual organisation in Bangladesh and indeed probably exceeds the combined total of all private sector businesses operating in the country as a whole. Clearly, maintaining the value of these assets is a fundamental requirement which is vital to the economy of Bangladesh and which should be treated as one of the highest priorities of Government. This places a great responsibility on the Ministry of Communications and the Roads and Highways Department.
RHD has the responsibility to maintain one of the largest assets in Bangladesh. Serious economic consequences will result from a lack of maintenance.