Published:  02:21 AM, 11 June 2021

Making Dhaka a livable city

Dhaka has turned out to be the fourth least livable city in the world in a recent ranking by a globally recognized organization. Dhaka is the world's 11th largest city and amongst the most densely populated. At the same time, it is consistently ranked as one of the least livable city in the world. Rapid migration, poor city management, low efficiency and massive corruption in service provision are exacerbating the problems. Urban traffic is reaching nightmare proportions, and water and air pollution from poor waste and traffic management poses serious health risks.

The already acute slum population is growing further, contributing to serious human and law and order problems. Actions to ensure an adequate supply of basic services and to tackle corruption and wastage are needed immediately. This monograph suggests that the management problems of Dhaka cannot be addressed in a piece meal fashion. Deployment of additional resources and massive investment will be required to meet the large backlog of unmet demands. To make this investment effective, there is a need to fundamentally and systemically rethink the governance of Dhaka. The monograph offers some basic guiding principles that must underpin a reform program. It provides alternative approaches based on a review of good practice international experiences. The monograph concludes that in reforming Dhaka, policymakers will need to establish an elected, decentralized and accountable city government; that has well defined service delivery responsibilities; has considerable financial autonomy; and has well defined relationship with central government. Another formidable problem is solid waste mismanagement.

There is a generation of 'organic pollution hazard'.  The garbage spreads everywhere in the form of heaps all over the filthy city points. Now there are dumping grounds in outer loosely built up communities. Well maintained garbage disposal system is lacking. The city corporation is collecting garbage through its scanty resources and manpower. The garbage collected from the residents and offices through van is disposed on the dumping ground. In many city-points some amount of solid waste is discharged into the drains or canals causing a great deal of water pollution. The waste from kitchen throwing out of window is emptied into the river through rainwater. Garbage disposal requires responsible urban governance, which is supposed to give immediate action. There is no denying that Bangladesh is growing fast and Dhaka is growing faster. The capital city also has immense importance in the country's overall economic development. The government needs to ensure coordination among 56 service- providers, as no pragmatic plans were there behind building of city roads, drainage system and even for setting up of street lights. The city development efforts did not have continuity and were not sustainable. Only a clear vision of the people, the government agencies, private investors, and development organizations, and timely actions could ensure building Dhaka as a planned new city.

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