Patrick Geddes, a Scottish town planner, made a plan for Dhaka in 1917. Later, a long-term 20-year master plan was prepared in 1959. It has appeared as a big question in front of us that whether necessary infrastructure, residential areas, commercial areas, roads and water bodies were built following the plan. Even in a span of one decade, ruling Awami League has failed implement the Dhaka Detail Area Plan (DAP) prepared with much enthusiasm. The government has succumbed to the pressure of unscrupulous and influential quarters.
Dhaka lacks quite a number of conditions that are required to become an ideal city. The mega plans adopted for Dhaka time again were not implemented. Every initiative was taken scattered and sporadically. Unknowingly, one problem worsened in the process of resolving another problem. There was lack of coordination, too. Separate agencies take up projects, plan on their own and implement those.
The projects appear to be conflicting with each other due to lack of coordination. Several flyovers were constructed across the city to curb the traffic congestion. But it has been seen in some cases that the flyovers hindering other projects and plans. Now the works of metro-rail and expressway are underway. City dwellers have been waiting with hopes that the traffic condition will improve after these projects are completed.
Besides, the authorities do not seem to be very concerned by the dwellers’ sufferings due to mosquitoes, noise pollution, air pollution and waterlogging. Overpopulation is another problem for Dhaka. According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics data, every day 1,418 people are being added to its population. Most of our development projects are centred in Dhaka. In order to make Dhaka city livable, the population increased must be stopped.
The plan to build a satellite city in the vicinity of Dhaka could not be implemented. The initiative was taken in Purbachal suburb three decades ago. Services and infrastructure work have not yet been completed there.
The government is dreaming of a developed country. But this declining image of the capital city is not only depressing, but also a source of constant suffering to the residents. Hopefully, the policy makers will wake up even if it’s late. We request the government to take sustainable and long-term plans, not periodical ones, to make Dhaka city livable.