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ED: Make Dhaka functional

  • Published at 01:12 am November 14th, 2020
dhaka traffic mask coronavirus
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

We must rethink and reimagine Dhaka’s fate as a capital city

Our nation’s progress over the last decade or so has been exponential, as infrastructural projects, technological advancements, and economic growth have been transforming people’s lives for the better.

Unfortunately, the brunt of this rapid growth has been centralized to Dhaka alone, leading to unplanned urbanization and mass migration, reshaping our capital into one of the most dysfunctional cities in the world.

Dhaka’s current chaotic state as a city is one that causes great suffering to its residents and, in the long run, cannot be sustained, with several studies highlighting its dangerously mismanaged traffic system and inadequate availability of utility services as contributing factors towards its reputation as one of the least habitable cities in the world.

Dhaka currently sits on the brink of a foreseeable disaster and we must take drastic measures to ensure that its future as a megacity is not one replete with further disarray and suffering.

Around 5% of Dhaka’s landscape consists of its road network -- according to experts, a city should have 30% -- and incessant corruption, incompetence, and mismanagement have allowed for the reckless construction of housing structures with little regard for the availability of utility, education, and health services.

We must rethink and reimagine Dhaka’s fate as a capital city and take a holistic approach towards finding a solution to Dhaka’s problems -- we can no longer allow different wings of the government to act according to their own agendas; we must create a long-term and sustainable plan which understands the interdependent nature in which a city functions.

While certain solutions, such as the creation of freeways, flyovers, and water transport services, are commendable, these steps will do little to improve the situation unless all aspects of the city are considered in unison.

Our priorities must shift: In addition to decentralization and development initiatives outside of the capital, we must rethink Dhaka and work towards overhauling the unsustainable system on which it currently runs.

The fate of our capital hangs in the balance.

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