- Dhaka

Planners favour small projects to resolve traffic jam

The government needs to take small projects instead of big ones to resolve the longstanding problems in the communication sector, including traffic jam, experts and planners told a roundtable in Dhaka on Wednesday.

“Traffic congestion couldn’t be resolved by taking big projects…. small projects have to be taken first. Big projects couldn’t be implemented by taking loan or begging money from donors,” said Prof Dr Sarwar Jahan, president of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP).
Bangladesh Paribesh Bachao Andolan (BPA) organised the roundtable tilted ‘Public Sufferings in Communications: Ambitious Projects’ at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the city.
Columnist Syed Abul Maksud, president of Bangladesh Architects’ Institute (BAI) Mubashar Hossain, urban planner of UNDP Khandakar Niaz Rahman and president of Bangladesh Railway Workers Association Dewan Mohammad Ali, among others, spoke at the roundtable held with PBA chairman Abu Naser Khan in the chair.
Prof Sarwar Jahan said Dhaka city’s traffic congestion is gradually worsening due to the growing number of private cars, which now account for five percent of the total vehicles. “If it hits 10 percent, the road capacity has to be doubled. Is it possible?”
About metro rail, he said the government has taken the mega project involving Tk 25,000 crore, which will ultimately go up to Tk 30,000-40,000 crore.
“The government will have to provide 70-80 percent subsidy on metro rail to keep it operational. In fact, metro rail is not suitable for our country,” he said.
Sarwar Jahan said the city’s traffic congestion could be eased by introducing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) which will cost only Tk 15,000-16,000 crore.
Columnist Syed Abul Maksud said communication problem is not only a social and economic problem, but also a national problem. “The malevolent politics is responsible for the destruction of the communication system and donors are responsible for the nasty politics,” he said.
Maksud urged the government to elicit public opinion from all sections of people so that the ongoing communication problem could be resolved in a combined manner.
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