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The right planning

  • Published at 05:46 pm August 16th, 2018
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Photo: SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

There is no solution around this problem than to decentralize


The Global Liveability Index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit has, once again, ranked Dhaka as one of the least liveable cities in the world.

Surveys like this, of course, are guaranteed to generate discussion, and their methodology is hardly beyond reproach. Even with the megacity’s share of problems, it is hard to believe, for example, that only Damascus out of the 140 cities surveyed ranked lower than Dhaka.

Furthermore, there are numerous other major cities in the world that would clearly have ranked lower, but were simply not included in the survey.

Suffice to say, these rankings are somewhat arbitrary, unhelpful, and not so meaningful.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that our capital city has serious problems which need the urgent attention of our policy-makers. 

As the mad rush to go home for the Eid holidays begins, it becomes apparent that simply too many people from all over the country come to live and work in Dhaka, putting an unsustainable amount of pressure on our capital and our largest city.

And ultimately, there is no solution around this problem than to decentralize. 

All cities, not just Dhaka, will benefit from a comprehensive plan of decentralization, which could start with spreading out ministries and headquarters of military bases around the country.

Right now, a Dhaka-centric bias causes throngs of people to come to the city in hopes of employment and a better life, but it does not need to continue to be this way.

Much more attention could be given to develop the port city of Chittagong, which has been neglected for years, and has tremendous untapped potential.

Dhaka is straining to bear the weight of most of the nation’s economic activity, but if the government undertakes plans to move factories out of Dhaka while simultaneously focusing on implementing changes to our road and traffic rules, there may be a ray of hope yet.

A city as big as Dhaka needs smart planning -- something that has been sorely lacking in the growth of this city, but it is not too late to turn things around.