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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka, Chittagong mayors struggled to bring changes

Update : 27 Dec 2015, 07:55 PM

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon and Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin have struggled to address the existing problems in the city corporation areas after they took office following the April 28 elections.

Since 2011 when Dhaka City Corporation was divided into two parts, the condition of roads, footpaths, drains and the sewerage system in both DNCC and DSCC areas remained poor for lack of proper monitoring and maintenance, said urban planners and locals.

The three mayors, after assuming office, have concentrated mostly on reducing waterlogging and traffic congestion, and recovering occupied roads, footpaths and open spaces. But they have faced resistance from grabbers, who are mostly the members of Awami League’s several associate bodies such as Jubo League and Swechchhasebak League.

Annisul and Khokon have led two big eviction drives in Mohakhali, Tejgaon industrial area and Saatrasta’s truck terminal.

During the drive in Tejgaon, Annisul faced strong resistance from members of the truck owners’ association, but later succeeded when Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and several local Awami League leaders intervened.

Sayeed Khokon on the other hand also faced obstructions while evicting illegal establishments on footpaths at Gulistan intersection.

The two mayors have already announced that roads, footpaths and open spaces in the capital will be free from illegal occupation by 2016. They have also urged the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority to take measures for recovering occupied canals.

DNCC Mayor Annisul told the Dhaka Tribune it is difficult to recover all the occupied roads, footpaths and open spaces within a short period.

“Even in many cities in Europe and the US, they have got street vendors. Our neighbour India is developing fast but it has got shanties,” he said.

But the mayor said he was confident that Dhaka city could be revamped if adequate support was received from different ministries and departments. “As a mayor, the scope of my work, funds and power are limited. It is thus the authorities concerned who should take steps for large-scale infrastructural development and proper city planning.”

DSCC Mayor Sayeed said Dhaka city would be turned into a clean, beautiful and colourful city in 2016.

“Our aim is not to turn Dhaka into a clean city overnight. We want to gradually work towards our goal. This is why we have decided on executing the cleanliness programme in the upcoming year,” he said.

The mayor said all the illegally-occupied roads and footpaths in the capital would be freed, and the waste management system, public toilets and street lamps would be repaired. “Beautification and plantation programmes will be undertaken in Dhaka city,” he added.

CCC Mayor Nasir said he was focusing on implementing the Chittagong Drainage Master Plan 1995 to reduce waterlogging in the port city. “We will sit with other authorities such as Chittagong Development Authority to make plans for turning Chittagong into a world-class city.”

Meanwhile, noted urban planner and slum researcher Professor Nazrul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune the city corporation authorities alone are incapable of addressing all the problems in city areas.

“To make it happen, other authorities such as Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, the Housing and Public Works Ministry, the Planning Commission, Dhaka Wasa, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and police have to deliver their services properly,” he said. 

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