** Fire at building in Dhaka’s Wari doused ** People rush to village homes to spend Eid holidays with their near and dear ones. This photo was taken from Sadarghat Launch Terminal on Tuesday. NN photo ** Surge in cases of dehydration, diarrhoea amid summer heat wave ** Dozens injured as Sonar Bangla Express hits goods train in Cumilla ** Bus, pickup van collision in Dinajpur leaves 2 drivers dead, 12 injured ** Fardin’s death: Dhaka court orders further investigation by CID ** When shall these private univs move to permanent campuses? ** Bus-three wheeler collision kills 5 in Ctg’s Boalkhali ** People pay last respects to Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury at Shaheed Minar ** Tarique, Zubaida indicted in graft case ** Bangladesh’s literacy rate rises to 74 percent, poverty down by 5.6 percent: Survey ** People to pay tribute to Dr Zafrullah at Shaheed Minar tomorrow ** IMF team due in Dhaka on April 25 to discuss 2nd tranche of $4.7b loan ** Dr. Zafrullah the warrior stops, his battles will go on ** Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury no more ** We are living like the poor, paying like the rich ** US wants Bangladesh sets up strong example of free, fair elections ** Govt raises fertiliser prices by Tk 5 per kg ** US can topple govt in any country: Sheikh Hasina ** Nafiz Alam sent to jail in narcotics case ** Traders affected by the massive fire in Bangabazar in the capital set up shops on footpaths with the high hope of recouping their losses ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. This photo was taken on Sunday. NN photo ** Temperatures feared to hit 40°C this week ** 579 people killed in motorcycle accidents in 3 months: SCRF ** 3 dead in Jamalpur after truck collides with pickup van ** Industry owners paying increased gas price, but not getting promised supply **

Dhaka not sustaining as a healthy city: Decentralisation is the solution

19 April 2023

Decentralisation is key to making Dhaka a livable city. For quite a long time - several decades - the necessity of Dhaka's centralisation has been in the discussion in this world's most densely populated country. But up until now it has remained only in discussion; no visible efforts have been made in that direction. As a result, Dhaka's population has been rising phenomenally with the concomitant problems like traffic congestion and pollution of all kinds as the most common byproducts of ongoing development activities in Dhaka. The city is ever growing as an unhealthy place.  
No system can function effectively if a city like Dhaka contains more than two crore people with its limited resources. People from various parts of the country flock to Dhaka mainly for livelihood purposes in absence of availability of livelihood means in their localities. Though the lower income group of people come here temporarily, their presence always creates a huge pressure on the city.
More importantly, everything such as administration, judiciary, major and specialised hospitals, educational centres, businesses are centralised in Dhaka. The headquarters of three forces are also located in Dhaka. In this season of Eid within a few days, when most people will leave Dhaka to celebrate Eid and the city will give a deserted look, one can fairly assume how many people have come to Dhaka for livelihood means and other purposes.
If there were alternative cities to Dhaka, people would not have to come here. Therefore, we must say the plan of developing Bangladesh has been a faulty one right from the beginning for which Dhaka's sustainability as a livable city has become a big challenge. Can anyone think how could businesses speed up when the average traffic speed is close to 6km per hour in the capital? How many working hours of people are lost each day? It has been rightly pointed out by an economist that Dhaka is not only the capital of the country but also its powerhouse.
For decentralisation of Dhaka city, Bangladesh needs to develop several more important cities including the port city of Chattogram. Dhaka's dominance will not decline without administrative decentralisation, even if infrastructure facilities are built outside this city; but for this, a strong political will is necessary. If Bangladesh's overall development is the goal, politics has to rise above its narrow interest and start decentralising Dhaka as a top priority. The capital city will expand with time, but if this expansion is not planned, it will turn into a place of urban chaos.    

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