Dhaka wears different look

Firoz Al Mamun

1 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Dhaka wore a different look with no traffic jam here on Thursday, the voting day of a by-election to Dhaka North City Corporation.

The city people breathed a sigh of relief in the wake of the uninterrupted movement of vehicles.

Usually, they are the worst affected by everyday traffic jam. Jobholders, businessmen and students have to leave home hours ago to timely reach their destinations.

Examinees’ rush to examination centres a long time before the beginning of their exams amid traffic jam hit headlines in the past.

Multiplicity of vehicles, narrow roads, footpath shops and movement of unfit vehicles are usually responsible for traffic gridlock in the overpopulated city.

Valuable times are cost due to traffic jam, causing a heavy economic loss for the people and the country.

A data of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) says traffic congestion costs five million working hours and causes an economic loss to the tune of Tk 37,000 crore a year.

Twenty-five people are killed in road accidents every month on average, while 73 percent people suffer from serious physical or mental discomfort due to incessant horn and air pollution in the capital.

An ideal city should see 25 percent of its total area as roads, but Dhaka has only 7.5 percent roads.

Nearly 9,64,500 registered motor vehicles and 4,00,000 unregistered motor vehicles are operating in the capital, said a report.

Only 50 percent of drivers have regular licences while 27 percent of them drive vehicles, conforming to rules.

Besides, 37,000 cars are being added to the existing number per year. Over 700,000 rickshaws plying in the capital aggravate the traffic situation.

Traffic jam and wrong driving are costing both lives and working time.

But, city-dwellers saw a different Dhaka on Thursday with almost no traffic jam.

The authorities concerned banned movement of motor vehicles in the capital following the by-elections to Dhaka North City Corporation.

Election officials, law enforcement agencies and journalists possessing Election Commission’s pass were allowed to make movement in the capital.

But, a small number of public buses and vehicles were seen to ply the roads, but there was no traffic jam.

Maruf Hossain, a physician of a private hospital, said he left Kuril for New Market at 11:00am. It just took 30 minutes for him to reach the destination by a microbus. After an hour, he returned to Kuril in 30 minutes.

Ibrahin, driver of the microbus, said a person has to spend three hours on the road to go from Kuril to New Market usually due to traffic jam.

“If you leave home at 9:00am, you will need two hours to reach Bananai or Mohakhali intersections which are marked by heavy congestion. Then, you need more time to travel the rest of the way,” he added.