An uncomfortable scene ensued during a meeting among the Road Transport Ministry and the two Dhaka city corporations on Sunday when the south mayor accused his counterpart of bypassing him on a citywide plan.
The focus of the ninth board meeting of Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), held at the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) headquarters, was Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq's famous colour-coded bus plan, which he has been talking about since taking office.
In the meeting, Annisul unveiled that a consultant team had carried out a study and was almost done drawing up a proposal.
But he was interrupted in the middle of his presentation by the South Mayor Sayeed Khokon, who asked: “I do not know about the study and colour-coded buses. Will the colour-coded buses run in the north city corporation only?”
Annisul replied: “No, the buses will run throughout Dhaka.”
Several seconds of silence ensued as Mayor Sayeed exchanged looks with other officials who were present in the meeting.
He asked again: “Why were we not informed about this important plan?”
The north mayor appeared dismissive of his colleague, saying: “You will be informed in time. The initiative came from Road Transport Ministry and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already been informed.”
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quder, who was presiding over the meeting as DTCA chairman, intervened, saying: “Sayeed, you are being informed through this meeting. Please do not create any misunderstanding over the matter.”
Mayor Sayeed appeared unwilling to concede. He continued, saying: “How funny it is that the DNCC mayor did not inform us about the issue. Even the bus owners did not inform us.”
Khandaker Enayetullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity, said: “We tried to meet with you, but never we got any appointments.”
Sayeed replied: “I am always available at my office. You have never contacted me.”
Annisul interrupted, saying: “You are my younger brother, I will discuss the issue personally with you.”
The tiff appeared to end there.
Annisul said at the meeting that the study conducted recommends operating 4,000 buses of six different colours under six companies to solve the indiscipline in the public transport system.
“After completion of the detailed project plan, we will disclose the plan or the policy through a seminar. Then the prime minister will decide who will execute the plans, we do not know if it will be the city corporations or the road transport authorities,” he added.