Integrated approach must to make STP a success
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

The Chief Adviser has unveiled a Strategic Transport Plan(STP) for making the city of Dhaka a functional one by expanding the road network, building elevated expressways, underground train. rapid bus and mass transit and east-west road interconnectors. According to present estimates full implementation of the STP will cost 5.2 billion US dollars or close to about Tk 40,000 crores. The CA pointed his fingers at the donors. There is no doubt that because of negligence and mismanagement over the years, Dhaka has been reduced to an unlivable city. It is simply unbelievable that a city that has been mostly built after 1950 can be like this where traffic moves at snail's pace, not enough roads, no open spaces or otherwise a veritable jungle of concrete. The high-rise phenomenon that hit us in the early nineties has added to the chaos. If we go by our past experiences we find reasons to feel concerned about the future of such a mega project. But, then, who prepared the project and when? We think it would have been appropriate if the project was made public to solicit public opinion. The CA said that the project was prepared in 2006 but did not receive approval from relevant quarters. That is a warning that future governments might find flaws in the project and drop it. Dhaka needs improvement in all spheres. Water, sewerage, electricity, road in fact in all aspects. The sewerage system is about to collapse, there is water shortage to the tune of 15 million liters and electricity plays hide and seek. Improving the tranport sector alone will not improve quality of life. There should be an integrated approach or better still a plan for decentralization so that the pressure on Dhaka is substantially reduced. If some of the ministries and departments are shifted to other towns and cities the congestion will be less.

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