Urban planners, environmentalists for community train service in capital

Urban planners and environmentalists at a
meeting on Monday urged the government to introduce quality community
train service with a view to reducing miserable traffic congestion in
capital Dhaka.

They said at present, the government has some big projects in hand,
including the elevated expressway, metro rail and flyovers, to
develop road communication in the city. But, these ambitious
projects, including the proposed 26-killometer elevated expressway
costing Tk 11,000 crore, will increase traffic jam, private car use
and pollution in the city.

Department of Urban and Regional Planning at BUET, Paribesh Bachao
Andolan (Paba) and WBB Trust jointly organisd the view exchange
meeting titled ‘Communication System in Dhaka city: Ongoing
Initiatives and Our Expectation’ at National Press Club in the city.

Chaired by chairman of BUET’s Urban and Regional Planning Department
Prof Dr Sarwar Jahan, the meeting was addressed, among others, by
international transportation expert Dr Mahbubul Bari, Paba chairman
Abu Naser Khan, member of Public Service Commission Ikram Ahmed,
former IGP Dr M Enamul Haque, Dr Mustafizur Rahman of Bangladesh
Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and WBB Trust director Syed
Mahbubul Alam.

Dr Mahbubul Bari said that although about 95 percent of people in the
city use rickshaw, rail, bus and other mass transports besides
walking to their places of work, no effective steps have been taken
to facilitate their journey. But, at the same time, the government is
trying to implement big, ambitious projects to cut traffic jam.

He said the proposed 26-killometer elevated expressway will hinder
further development of rail communication, and create pollution and
dependency on fuel. “Only five percent of people will get temporary
facility from the elevated expressway.”

Dr Bari suggested cancellation of the elevated expressway project and
impose restriction on the plying of private cars, thus ensuring safe
road communication for rickshaw and pedestrian.

Abu Naser Khan said the government is implementing a project costing
Tk 20,000 crore to introduce metro rail in the city, which will
facilitate only four percent of the city dwellers.

“But, the Bangladesh Railway cannot provide proper services to the
crores of people for want of only Tk 14,000 crore,” he said.

Prof Dr Sarwar Jahan urged the government to take steps to halt the
increasing flow of people to Dhaka city to facilitate communication
in the capital.

He suggested political and administrative decentralisation to
increase employment opportunities, and education and healthcare
facilities in other cities and towns of the country.

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