Md. Joynal Abdin
The Financial Express on June 30, 2012
Dhaka has the honour of becoming the capital of the region 400 years ago during the Mughal rule in India. Since then it lost and regained the crown several times with political changes in the region. Presently, Dhaka is the ninth largest city in the world and one of the most densely populated cities. Excessive population has created multi-faceted inconveniences in this mega city. The list begins with load shedding, shortage of water, traffic jam, huge demand for services against minimal resources, high prices of essential commodities, rapidly increasing house rent, lack of beds in hospitals and so on.
All these inconveniences are man-made and can be solved. All political parties offered solutions to these problems before election but forgot everything after getting elected. Personal agenda and party agenda are getting priority over people’s agenda. As a result city dwellers are frustrated with the politicians.
I do not know whether Dhaka dwellers will ever get a government who would take a bold decision of shifting the capital city outside Dhaka (not in Savar or Narayanganj, it may be in Tangail, Sirajgang, Mymensingh or Comilla. If the Secretariat, the Prime Minister’s Office, National Parliament, private universities and readymade garment factories are relocated 90 per cent of existing problems of Dhaka city will be solved.
Shifting the capital city is a major task and handsome investment is required for construction of related infrastructures in a new location. But it is important to save working hours, maintain a healthy environment for our future generation and make Dhaka city a liveable place. We would not be the first nation to shift its capital city. Many countries including the USA, Russia, Canada, Australia, India, Brazil, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Philippines, Oman, Japan, and Myanmar relocated their capital for the greater need of the nation.
There are about 16.6 million people in Dhaka city with an annual growth rate of 4.2 per cent. Too much population in a limited area is creating social, ecological, and health problems for the city dwellers. People from all over the country are Dhaka bound for earning a livelihood.
If the government can create employment opportunities in different areas of the country influx of population in Dhaka city will be decreased. It will solve the problems of traffic jam and high rate of house rent in this mega city.
In order to create employment opportunity in other places the government may take decision to the effect that no more industrialisation will be allowed in or around Dhaka city. The authorities may stop issuing trade licences to any new manufacturing units in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Gazipur areas. At the same time appropriate measures must be taken for industrialisation in alternative places.
Relocation of the Secretariat, private universities and industrial units outside Dhaka will automatically relocate the workforce there, while population flow towards Dhaka will also come to a halt.