Mismanagement, people’s influx behind city owes

February 27, 2010

Overpopulation and mismanagement are the major reasons of the capital’s acute problems such as unplanned growth, traffic congestion, and water and gas shortage which are making Dhaka unliveable, experts and planners said, reports NewAgebd.
They called for immediate action to save Dhaka, which ranks the second among the worst liveable cities of the world, according to the Liveability Survey 2010 of the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Residents of the capital have for long been suffering from nagging traffic congestion, water stagnation, road stretches in poor conditions with wastes piled on them and acute water and gas shortage.
Repeated attempts of government agencies, including the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, have failed to ease tailback on the road that eats up several working hours.
The should work out a comprehensive plan to manage the capital and it should also take measures to decentralise administrative facilities from the capital and develop other divisional cities so that there could be no surge in migration to the capital, urban experts told New Age.
‘The Dhaka city has been plagued with many problems in such a manner that the mayor has nothing to do with these nagging problems. It needs the attention of the people high up in the government,’ said the Bangladesh Institute of Planners president, Sarwar Jahan.
‘The government will first need to decide how it will manage the overcrowded city which will for certain need a comprehensive plan,’ he said.
As the Election Commission is preparing to hold elections to the Dhaka City Corporation, urban experts and planners said the first of many tasks of the new city mayor should be to work out a comprehensive management plan for the capital.
The city corporation has always been seen struggling to manage the affairs but wastes continued to remain scattered here and there on the roads posing a serious health risk.
The city residents are not even free from the mosquito menace. The menace has gone beyond the control for lack of regular anti-mosquito drive by the Dhaka City Corporation. Even during the day, people need to use anti-mosquito spray in business establishments, offices and also in houses.
The urban experts observed there would be no end to the nagging problems unless a coordination authority was formed to deal with the problems of the city.
‘The first task of the next city mayor will be to check nagging traffic congestion as the Dhaka Transport Coordination Board runs under the supervision of the mayor,’ said urban expert Jamilur Reza Choudhury, also a former vice-chancellor of the BRAC university.
‘The city corporation in cooperation with Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha should also identify risky buildings and take necessary measures either to demolish or to retrofit them and make necessary preparations to enforce the detailed area plan, which is almost completed by Rajuk, to stop unplanned urbanisation,’ he said.
Jamilur Reza also suggested computerised automation of the activities of the city corporation and other utility agencies to bring dynamism in the organisations.
Urban expert Nazrul Islam, also chairman of the University Grants Commission, stressed the need for the formation of a coordination authority, brining the utility service agencies under a single roof for an effective result in addressing the problems of the city.
‘City residents face the problem of water stagnation and mosquito menace all the year round,’ Nazrul Islam said. ‘The corporation must also keep public toilets useable.’
Water stagnation has become commonplace during rains every year for lack of sufficient storm sewers and drains and lack of their proper maintenance.
Acute water crisis during the dry season every year compel the dwellers to take to the streets.
 As for traffic congestion in the capital, Nazrul Islam said the issue should be handled exclusively by a senior minister.
‘Containing snarl-up is not possible only with the efforts of the Dhaka City Corporation as it involves affairs of many government organisations. The government should look into the issue in a holistic manner and should designate a senior minister to resolve the longstanding problems,’ he said.
The honorary secretary of the Centre for Urban Studies, Nurul Islam Nazem, also emphasised ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability in administrative affairs of the corporation and other related agencies in addition to the formulation of an innovative management plan.
Architect Iqbal Habib, who is also member secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan, said the next mayor should play the role of a coordinator in addressing city problems as such problems are related to 11 ministries and 54 government organisations.’
Air and sound pollution have also increased alarmingly posing a serious health hazard for city dwellers.

Courtesy of NewAgebd

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