Two years since Dhaka elected its first mayors on ambitious pledges to deliver a “green, clean, secure, livable and digital” capital city, the Dhaka Tribune has found that many of the promised projects are either in their infancy or are yet to materialise.
Talking about his two years in office as Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor, Mohammad Sayeed Khokon told this paper that most of the things he had promised during the campaign are in the process of being implemented, except for fixing a water-logging problem which he said was WASA’s responsibility.
“I am trying my best to make Dhaka a clean, green liveable city. There is a visible change in how the city looks,” he said. “You could not walk on the footpaths of Gulistan before as it was occupied by hawkers, vendors, illegal parking, you name it; but now you can.”
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Both DSCC and DNCC have a lot of development work left to do, with some projects already implemented such as eviction drives while lots of roads are still in dire need of fixing[/caption]
The Dhaka Tribune reached out to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq for comments on his own two-year tenure, but found he is out of the country. The Public Relations office of DNCC said the mayor will hold a press conference on May 14 about the subject.
Both mayors faced an enormous challenge when they entered office amid much fanfare in 2015, since Dhaka has been consistently ranked as one of the worst cities in the world to live in, by almost all measures.
Dhaka was ranked 214 among 230 cities in the world in 2015 and 2016, according to Mercer’s annual Quality of Living Rankings, while Dhaka ranked the fourth least liveable city in the world of 142 researched by the Economist Intelligence Unit for its 2016 Global Liveability Report.
The city scored the lowest for infrastructure and does not do well in terms of air pollution, either, ranking second in the list of cities with the worst air pollution according to the 2017 State of Global Air Report.
Data collected from both city corporations show the North is far ahead in developing and implementing the projects that each mayor had promised during campaigning two years ago.
In their election manifestos, both Sayeed Khokon and Annisul Huq prioritised better waste management, however, projects by both DSCC and DNCC to build waste-based power plants in Matuail and Aminbazar have been scrapped and re-initiated with no firm progress made to date.
The recovery of footpaths and roads from illegal occupation, beautifying parks, cleaning up lakes, canals and rivers, and developing infrastructure were other key pledges.
“I hope all the other projects undertaken will be completed within the next two years as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is adamant that Dhaka meets a global standard and this development will continue,” the DSCC mayor said.
Although two mayors promised in their election manifesto that Dhaka would be reformed green, there have been no proper initiatives on tree plantations. Only Mayor Annisul Huq got involved with campaigners of tree plantations among the Green Dhaka Campaign.
The state of the projects under each promised programme: