Be a good citizen: The city is yours
Do the citizens of Dhaka take a closer look at their city? How was it before, do you think about how the city is changing day by day? The number of buildings in Dhaka city is increasing. New shopping malls are being constructed, small and big businesses are also growing. Does our city look good? The fact is that everyone's indifference and negligence about the city is more visible.
But if we are a little aware, Dhaka can be a beautiful and a habitable city. In other words, our city is beautiful but we just need a little awareness and some initiatives. I saw that Dhaka was a shady, beautiful, quiet, orderly city. There were not so many houses and buildings. Air was clean, the number of people was less comparatively. Everyone stood in line in an orderly manner and got on the bus. The buses then just stopped at the stand. Unfortunately, now the sense of discipline among the people is decreasing day by day.
There is a tendency among a large number of citizens living in Dhaka to disobey law. They blame the government for everything. On the other hand, many people compare Bangladesh with developed countries. A few days ago, a man littered streets in Singapore. He was given punishment--he will clean the elevator every day. And it will be shown on television every day. After such punishment, will anyone dare to do that again?
When it comes to punishment in our country, we raise voice in the name of democracy and human rights. But we must remember that democracy does not mean lawlessness, it does not mean flouting laws. Lack of awareness among city dwellers, littering roadside and the tendency to disobey laws have brought about this misery in Dhaka. It is really difficult to keep a city with such a dense population liveable if the citizens are not aware.
Overpopulation has become a big problem in the city. Among them, a large portion of this population has no job now. They come to Dhaka in search of work. On the contrary, day labours cannot be found in the village in harvesting season. If we want to save Dhaka city, we have to lift the excessive number of rickshaw. Public transport should be increased. Metro rail, new flyovers will not work to resolve the problem if the population of Dhaka continues to grow.
If the industries are relocated outside of the Dhaka, the pressure on the city will be reduced a lot. At the same time, job opportunity in the villages of the country should be increased. Only then the flow of people towards Dhaka can be stopped and Dhaka will be a more liveable and ideal city.
In the real sense, planned city means planned settlement. In other words, considering the overall aspect and future generations, everything in the city will be according to the plan. But our capital city has developed unplanned from the beginning. Unplanned Dhaka city is disrupting public life. Urban planners and experts also say that the largest portion of the people in the capital is suffering the consequences of unplanned urbanization. And for all these reasons, Dhaka city is being added to the list of uninhabitable cities in the world. It is possible to turn Dhaka into a tolerable and liveable planned city if the city combines good governance, expert knowledge and the combined efforts of the people with political goodwill.
This city belongs to all of us, so all of us are responsible to ensure a better environment and protect this city. We should love our city in the same way we love our home and property. If we can properly fulfil the responsibilities entrusted to us in protecting the city, then we will be good citizens and at the same time it will be a liveable place. So to be a good citizen we all should be careful about the environment of our city, because the city is ours.
The writer is assistant professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning, Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology