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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.