Intra-city rail service
Photo: Zahedul I Khan
Rail service is recognised as an important transportation system in most mega cities of the world, but in Dhaka the access to this mode of transportation is limited. In fact, there is no rail service in Dhaka. Poor, lower middle class members of the work force are forced to use expensive forms of transportation such as CNGs and cabs and suffer in unbearable traffic jams. Metro rail is a good solution to this problem but it costs thousands of takas to implement and expensive to maintain and it also requires uninterrupted electricity. Hence it becomes a white elephant for the lower waged employees due to high priced tickets. On the other hand, if the cantonment railway is extended to Uttara along the western side of the airport and from Karwan Bazaar the existing railway is extended to Bangla Motor, Kakrail and Bongobazar then intra Dhaka city rail service can be easily implemented at a low cost. In this way trains can run simultaneously in both directions in only 10 minutes. Inter-district rail service on the eastern side along Komolapur, Khilgoan, Kuril, Khilkhet, airport never interrupts intercity rail service.
University of Dhaka
Rab is our elite force within the law enforcement system. This force has many contributions to controlling and managing our country's law and order situation. This force is something to be proud of. People usually believe in this force more than other forces. These days we are reading news about Rab that makes Rab largely controversial. A 17-year-old boy Limon is now the most important subject in our daily newspapers. We have come to know that this boy lost one of his legs because of Rab's shooting. Rab states he is a terrorist. Rab men showed some sharp weapons, which they found from Limon, but the victim and his family claim that everything is false and Limon is innocent. He was a HSC examinee. Reading the news, it seems to me that Rab shot at his leg on a mere whim. In fact, Rab has formed a probe committee to look into this incident. But people are already expressing their doubts about this committee. They think this probe committee will not explore the real truth. As per the newspapers' reports, the concerned authority is trying to explain this incident by favouring Rab. Reading this news I think this is a staged incident. Everything is making Rab controversial.
A Burning Issue: Power Savings
Photo: Zahedul I Khan
The government's decision to save power by using power saving electronic equipment and reducing consumption, such as reducing the use of air-conditioners, is definitely a wise step. But because of lack of proper implementation, many steps as well as plans could not meet their expected outcome in the past. Since the power crisis has reached its highest peak already, due to shortage of natural gas, the government has no way out now without saving energy to mitigate the crisis because they can supply 3500 Megawatt electricity while 5500 Megawatt is required to meet the present demand. Until the installation of new power generating stations to produce sufficient power according to the present demand, this is evidently the best decision. It is widely known that the readymade garments sector is the main sector through which we control our balance of trade. During the economic meltdown, our readymade garments sector had to face a difficult time but because of the low price of gas as well as cheap labour, we were not so affected in comparison to other countries. Now the economic meltdown and recession are over. Nevertheless, because of power crisis due to shortage of natural gas, this sector is at stake. Already many industries had to be shut down causing immense power crisis. However, to save this sector, the government has taken many steps to keep an uninterrupted flow of power supply. Power saving is one of the best decisions because until new gas fields are discovered and until new power generating projects are implemented, we should use our existing supply conservatively so as not to abuse it which may happen due to our lack of awareness.
MD Tanvirul Hoque
Decentralisation: A Recent Buzzword
Dhaka, our capital is facing population problems in recent years. Dhaka has around 20 million people and more than 20,000 people come to this city daily for different purposes. The city cannot support this huge population. To reduce the pressure on Dhaka decentralisation can play a big role.
In the last two decades there has been a worldwide interest in decentralisation of government in all parts of the world. In some cases (particularly in East Asia) decentralisation appears to be motivated by the need to improve service delivery to large populations and the recognition of the limitations of central administration. Malaysia is a perfect example of decentralisation. The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. There can also be political, administrative, fiscal, and market decentralisation.
But decentralisation is not a panacea. Weak administrative or technical capacity at local levels may result in services being delivered less efficiently and effectively in some areas of the country. Centralisation and decentralisation are not "either-or" conditions. A proper balance between centralisation and decentralisation is essential to the effective and efficient functioning of government. So, it is high time we think of decentralisation.
Md Mosarraf Hossain Jewel
University of Dhaka
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