Bangladesh's urbanisation is basically Dhaka and Chattogram-centric. To be more precise, the capital city Dhaka is the hub of our development and urbanisation. This hampers overall development and urbanisation.

While villages are dependent on nature, cities are entirely planned. Bangladesh's cities, however, are more or less unplanned. And ever since the independence of the country, the rate at which the population is on the rise in Dhaka and Chattogram, with industries and other structures mushrooming all over, is incongruent with the inadequate civic amenities. The communication system is also not adequate. Dhaka's city roads cannot accommodate the burgeoning number of vehicles, leading to traffic congestion. The problem is that the government's development planning prioritises the capital, with the towns outside Dhaka being neglected.

Dhaka is the country's capital and centre of administration. But that should not mean all the factories and government establishments have to be located in Dhaka. In other countries of their world, the commercial and the political capitals are often separately located. Weak communication systems used to be blamed in the past, but now communications have improved, information technology has advanced and so there is no reason for everything to be Dhaka-centric.

When an industrial entrepreneur of Chattogram or Bogura feels that he doesn't have to come to Dhaka regarding his business matters, he will be happy to remain settled there. If not, he will inevitably head towards Dhaka

The government talks about decentralisation, but their actions are centralised. The number of divisional and district towns were increased to speed up administrative work, but the divisional and district level officials have not been given any policy-making powers. As a result, they have to come to Dhaka for any decision. This is a waste of both time and money.

According to records, every year 600,000 new persons are being added to Dhaka. If this trend continues, even before 2050 Dhaka will become an unlivable city. It will in no way be able to bear the burden of this additional population. As it is, the two cities adjacent to Dhaka -- Narayanganj and Gazipur -- are struggling under the weight of the expanding population.

In the interests of holistic development, the government must take up sustainable plans for the development of the other cities. Many have the hope that when Padma bridge becomes operative, the country's south will see urbanisation. But if that was to be so, why hasn't the north developed with the opening of Jamuna bridge? Chattogram has been declared the country's commercial capital, but nothing has been done to establish it as so.

When an industrial entrepreneur of Chattogram or Bogura feels that he doesn't have to come to Dhaka regarding his business matters, he will be happy to remain settled there. If not, he will inevitably head towards Dhaka.

It is high time, therefore, to drop all Dhaka-centric development and urbanisation and pay attention instead to integrated and holistic urbanisation.

Read more from Editorial
Post Comment