Vol. 5 Num 138 Sun. October 10, 2004  
Star City

Zero Point displays wrong info about distance of cities

How far is Mymensingh from Dhaka? The answer is 122 kilometres. But the structure at Zero Point in Dhaka says it is 193 km believe it or not.

Distances of major cities from Dhaka inscribed on the Zero Point structure have not been updated for long, although road distance of many cities have changed over the years because of the construction of new link roads and bridges.

According to Roads and Highways Department (RHD), distance between the capital and Mymensingh was 193 km when the route was through Muktagachha via Tangail. The distance reduced by 71 km when a direct road was constructed in early 80's.

The structure at Zero Point reads the distance of Pabna from Dhaka is 164 km (via Nagarbari-Aricha ferry service). But that particular route does not exist now as Nagarbari Ghat has been shifted to Paturia shortening the distance by several km.

Moreover, most of the vehicles now use the road via Jamuna Bridge after its inauguration in 1998 and the distance of Pabna from Dhaka through this route is 236 km. But the Zero Point's structure does not mention the distance through this new route.

The distances of only 17 districts from the capital are inscribed on the round shaped structure, although it has enough space to show distances of all 64 districts. The structure has 16 slabs in its four parts and each slab has space to display distances of four places.

Almost every big city has such a centre point where the distances of other cities from that particular point are displayed. The municipal or city councils usually update the information time to time with the development of road communication.

Dhaka's Zero Point was marked during military ruler Hussain Muhammad Ershad's regime and the structure was built at the road intersection in front of GPO to display information for convenience of the city residents.

Zero Point got a new name "Noor Hossain Square" after the fall of General Ershad, as a mark of respect to Noor Hossain, a political activist who was shot dead by the police at that place during anti-Ershad movement on November 10, 1987.

Surprisingly the structure at Zero Point has now become an orphan as officials at Dhaka City Corporation (DCC), Roads and Highways Department or the Department of Public Works do not know which department constructed the structure.

Iqbal Kabir, executive engineer of Zone-5 of DCC, could not find the records despite his repeated attempts. "We have records from 1992 at this moment," he said.

Kabir said if he could find the records that prove it as a DCC property, he would take necessary steps to update information inscribed on the structure and ensure that it would display actual distances of all 64 districts.

The Zero Point structure shows distances of different cities from Dhaka as follows:

Barisal-277 km, Bogra-228 km, Chittagong-264 km, Comilla-97 km, Dinajpur-414 km. Faridpur-45 km, Jessore-274 km, Khulna-335 km, Kushtia-277 km, Mymensingh-193 km, Noakhali-191 km, Pabna-164 km, Rajshahi-227 km, Rangpur-335 km, Rangamati-340 km and Sylhet 346 km.

The structure at Zero Point, the centre from which distances to various destinations are calculated, is not yet updated. PHOTO: STAR