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Thursday, August 13, 2009
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Rickshaws clog Dhanmondi Road-1 as a large number of rickshaw pullers flock to the capital to earn extra money ahead of the Ramadan and Eid. Photo: Anisur Rahman
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Traffic situation across the capital keeps worsening every day much to the plight of city residents while the authorities sits on various projects to improve the city's infrastructure.

The capital experiences gridlock before 9:00am on almost every working day in most parts of the city, causing untold sufferings to hundreds of commuters.

It could take about two hours to travel a distance of only eight kilometres during peak times. The situation got worse yesterday as thousands of people started for railway, bus and ferry terminals after office hours to journey to their homes on a three-day holiday beginning from today.

Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on roads from the Zia International Airport to Shahbah and Mirpur section-10 to Farmgate for hours.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner AKM Shahidul Huq urged the government to issue an order shutting all educational institutions in the city from 15th Ramadan to help police ease traffic jam ahead of Eid.

“I remained stranded on the Airport road for 30 minutes,” said Abu Amanullah Khan, who works with a private company. He finally abandoned his plan for travelling to city's central part from Uttara.

Many city lanes got jammed by rickshaws. Parents travelling by rickshaws with their children remained stranded for hours on their way back home from schools.

Mrs Arzu started from Gulshan Shooting Club by her car at 2:00pm and reached Karwanbazar, only four kilometres off the club, at 4:25pm.

Wishing anonymity, a traffic sergeant at Farmgate said the traffic situation was much better a few months ago as they did not have to clear roads often for VIPs.

“Once we clear the road for VIPs for 30 minutes, it causes traffic jam for the next three hours,” he added.

Dhaka city got a bad name for severe traffic jam years ago but in recent times the situation deteriorated rapidly affecting public life, businesses and even emergency services.

The traffic department blamed lack of coordination with Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) in the control of traffic signal.

“We control traffic in the street but the Dhaka City Corporation controls the signal system. They are unwilling to hand over the control to us leading to the current situation,” said Md Shafiqur Rahman, joint commissioner of traffic control.

The number of motor vehicles in the capital increased significantly in recent years but successive governments failed to implement infrastructure projects on time.

Official statistics show over 2 lakh buses, trucks, and cars now ply the city roads, while about 20,000 vehicles on an average add to the number every year.

The Dhaka city has only seven percent roads network against the international standard of 25 percent.

The present government has taken up several projects but it will take time to implement those, the communication ministry said recently.

The government has plans to implement short-term projects like construction of overpasses and underpasses for vehicles and linking roads, bypasses, and roads. But it might also take years to complete these projects.

Ahead of Ramadan, the traffic department held a meeting recently for taking measures to ease traffic congestion.

“Hundreds of meetings and discussions were held on reduction of traffic congestion but yielded little results . . . expansion of road networks and development of infrastructures is crucially important,” said a Dhaka Metropolitan Police report on the city's traffic situation.

The report identified 35 reasons for traffic congestion in Dhaka city inhabited by nearly 14 million people and suggested 17 ways to solve the problem.

The DMP commissioner at a monthly crime conference at Rajarbagh Police Lines Telecom Auditorium, called upon the owners of shopping malls and markets to employ additional security guards to help law-enforcers maintain law and order.

Shahidul Huq said they would beef up security across the city during the period. Additional law enforcers, including plain-clothes policemen would be deployed at various points in the city.

The DMP Commissioner said many students travel to and from educational institutions by cars causing traffic congestion on city roads.

He said since all shopping malls and markets get crowded during Ramadan, their owners should employ additional security guards to tackle the situation.

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The government should take it more seriously. otherwise it will be difficult for us to live in Dhaka city .

: Sheikh Marefat Tarikul Islam

Severe traffic jam is one of the great obstacles for public life in Dhaka city. Students, businessmen, patients- everybody have been suffering by this chronic diseases. Closing schools would not be a good decision. Rather, some more traffic police can be deployed at least in school hours to reduce jam. Further, a coordination of DCC and DMP is urgent.

: Advocate Bablu Sherif


  • Hafizur Rahman Arman
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 11:05 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Neither for religious activities, nor for festivities, but for traffic congestion we should shut the educational institutions in Dhaka. What a ridiculous notion! DCC should employ more professionals, like traffic engineers and urban planners which may end the anarchy supervised by helpless DMP.

  • M. M. Rahman
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 08:29 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    It is indeed very unfortunate. The Mahakhali fly-over is there but it is totally ineffective in the absence of fly-overs at other key points. The traffic police is also to blame.

  • Parvez Babul, Journalist.
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:40 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    We are lucky to see this report published. Thanks Daily Star and the correspondent. In fact, I face traffic jam very often and think that the Government should take holistic approach to control traffic jam. On the other hand, the VIPs can also go on the roads like genuine people facing the traffic jam to realize how the people of the city facing intolerable traffic jam regularly. Actually though many new cars come in the roads everyday, but no new road is being built competitively. Above all, the concerned authority should be concerned in real sense to control traffic jam. So, city dwellers want practical solution of the traffic jam soon.

  • Anupam
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 09:59 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Overflow of cars in the street of Dhaka city don't indicate the poverty of Bangladesh. But when we face the traffic jam we feel that we feel lack of City's infrastructure development. I think for the development of city's infrastructure car owner can play a pivotal role by giving special taxes to the Government and monitor the development activities to finish it within a specific time. Beside this we should maintain the statistics of number of car running in the specific street. If necessary a schedule for the specific car to be maintained to get the maximum output from the minimum resources for the time being.

  • Nasarullah
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 11:37 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    I feel shocking while I see an ambulance with a critically sick patient is struggling to drive out through a over crowded road to reach at the desired Hospital , kindly think about concern and mental pressure of the relation or attendants traveling with the patient , this could happen to me or to you any times, it is hard to leave or to drive in such odious enmesh .

    Lots of water has been drained out and now we have no time to think more, we need to go for action, we all are totally helpless to this uncertainty entangled with and we are standstill.

    Our move, our business, our prospects our developments and our anxieties have been moving around with this and we are floundering to escape , mostly on paper, in seminars or in meetings but not on action , we are helpless and are in the grips of traffic congestion, our time , money , strength, stamina have been turned ineffective and caught under such vicious move and distressed environment

    We have no more time to think over, if we expect to flourish our industries, our economy, our GDP, our developments, we must immediately workout pragmatic plan to execute immediately and in the long run, other wise all our dreams, vision would collapse and would be traumatized.

    Please make progressive plan in a coordinated, concerted ways with DCC, Police, Rajuk, and arrange to implement using our available resources immediately considering our roads, enhancing efficient management, training to police, streamlining the traffic move and management including stopping haphazard parking of buses, vehicles and three wheelers maintaining road discipline strictly.

  • Rashed Chowdhury
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:53 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    When the control is on inefficient people we can't expect any good result.

  • Hosen Ahamed khan
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 11:35 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Its just impossible to live in Dhaka city for traffic jam .I think government should think it very seriously . Private car taken more place on road .So rule should be taken about private car that -every alternate day gradually -even number & odd number could deploy their car on road .70% buses should be double dacker -it must be implemented immediately .

  • Sohel Ahmed
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 11:45 AM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Total failure, no matter how new this government is they have not done any thing apart from talking to solve the Dhaka's traffic issues. The emphasis on the Padma Bridge has put all other areas deep in to the pile of files.

  • Ataul Gani Osmani
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 01:07 PM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    I think this is one of the top problems the city people are facing now and worsening day by day. Government should take it seriously and find the ways outimmediately.

  • Ferdous Jalil
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 12:18 PM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Dhaka is a city of nearly 3 million people. It's important to invest a lot in Dhaka's infrastructure. While the Padma Bridge would be monumental, but solving Dhaka's traffic chaos is more important than the $2 billion to be spent for the Padma Bridge.

  • Md. Abdullahil Baki Bhuiyan
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 01:26 PM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Neither daily activities not emergency services are stranded in a standstill. Realy it is a horrible situation as the city dwellers are passing. The status quo is more worsening than the stauts quo ante. Tough measures are to be needed before the holy Ramadan by the traffic division. Government efforts are ostensible though. But, we want a pragmatic approach that govt. should induce underground railway, eleveted express highway, articulated bus service and so on to tackle the traffic congestion as early as possible.

  • FR
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 01:43 PM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Shutting down educational institutions for traffic congestion??? Which world are you living in? Stop being a coward and tell the truth about lack of investment urban planning due to ILLIGAL STEALING of public money by the government is the MAIN and ONLY CAUSE OF traffic congestion.

  • Anon
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 02:28 PM GMT+06:00 (481 weeks ago)

    Honestly, until the so called VIPs feel the prangs of traffic jam themselves, it would be virtually impossible for them to do much. Governments come and go, but the sad plight of general population stays the same. Let's hope our think-tank's 'Board' Room would become true Board Room where beneficial decisions are made-not for the members of the room but for the public in General. Although, I have to admit that the present government has not disappointed us at all because most of us did not expect much from them to begin with anyway.





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