POST TIME: 23 February, 2020 11:45:22 PM
Dhaka vehicles now move at walking pace
‘Traffic snarls in capital cause Tk 37,000cr loss a year’

Dhaka vehicles now move at walking pace

The traffic gridlock in the capital is wasting 50 lakh working hours everyday with the resultant financial loss being estimated at some Tk. 37,000 crore per year. Traffic congestions have forced vehicles in the capital to move at a snail’s pace of average five kilometers an hour, which is the same as walking. The speed was 21km per hour 12 years ago. These observations were made at a seminar on ‘The future planning urban transportation in Dhaka’ held in the city’s Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB).

Planning minister MA Mannan, Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) executive director Khondaker Rakibur Rahman, Bangladesh Association of Construction Industries president SM Khorshed Alam and former REHAB president Abdul Awal, among others, spoke at the seminar. Urban Habitat Consultants chairman Tanwir Newaj, an architect, presented the keynote paper at the seminar.

According to the experts, the speed of motorised vehicle has declined to about five km an hour, which is similar to the pace of walking. People suffer from a huge waste of time even while making a short journey from one place to another and this has reached an unbearable level, they observed. The population is increasing daily in the capital and large numbers of new vehicles are joining the existing ones everyday, the experts noted, adding that the road conditions in the capital have become woeful and they are in a state of disrepair. The sufferings of city folks have reached an unimaginable level even as the government's visionary projects, especially the construction of the

Metrorail, are under way, the speakers noted.

The experts said most of the short- and long-term plans or recommendations adopted by the government to address the people’s suffering are not yet significantly visible. Failure to establish a passenger-friendly mass transport system in the country has led to the increase in the number of accidents and quality of services to passengers has hit rock bottom, they observed.  Decentralisation of power and responsibility could be a way to solve the city’s problems, Mannan said while speaking as the chief guest at the seminar. “We’ve failed despite our efforts to decentralise the system. The special responsibilities of Sylhet have to be completed in Sylhet itself, while the responsibilities of the Rangpur Division have to be done in Rangpur itself. If we can do it with courage, we hope to be able to resolve this problem a bit,” the planning minister said.

According to Mannan, the rail and steamer offices were set up in Chattogram and Barisal respectively, but senior officials of the authorities like to work sitting in Dhaka. Not just decentralisation of the offices is needed, he said, adding that the main issue of the offices is to decentralise the funds and decentralise the economy. “If that becomes possible, the city’s problems will be greatly reduced,” he added.

Mannan further said, “We’re very weak in implementing our planning. We have many plans, but can’t implement them. It needs all-out cooperation to implement this planning.”

“The city’s traffic snarls are a barrier to democracy and we have to move forward while confronting such problems,” the planning minister added.