Saturday, May 25, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Tunneling our way out of centralization

The centralized nature of our economy is one of its biggest impediments

Update : 29 Oct 2023, 12:38 PM

While the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel may appear as yet another infrastructural development paving the way for the continuous development of the nation, it’s implications in terms of Bangladesh’s long-term goal of decentralization cannot be ignored.

Linking the main city and western side of the River Karnaphuli to the industrial zones on the east, the tunnel is said to be able to facilitate over 17,000 vehicles on any given day and is projected to make a positive impact on our overall gross domestic product in the process. Not only would it ease traffic congestion within two of the nation’s biggest cities, Dhaka and Chittagong, the tunnel also holds the potential to completely transform the latter city as a major hub of commerce.

This is the kind of development that the nation has been in need of since independence.

As things stand, the centralized nature of our economy is one of its biggest impediments --  concentrating the brunt of our commerce to one city only ensures that any development is contained within that one region, which results in accelerating influxes of people into that region. We need to get out of this vicious cycle.

While further development of our inter-regional connectivity is one of the most important steps to that end, there are other measures that the government can consider to expedite decentralization as well, ideas such as satellite towns. Dhaka needs to build new developments in a way that takes pressure off its centre, while mitigating against endless urban sprawl, and satellite towns present a clear opportunity in that regard while also helping us rethink the way we urbanize the rest of the nation in the process.

However, for now, the potential of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel in paving the way to a future where each and every corner of Bangladesh is developed and has access to gainful employment cannot be denied.
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