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Soon Bangladesh's capital may have two more reasons to complain about the traffic

The construction of Metro rail is underway in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Photo by Sharifuzzaman Aayan. Used under CC BY-SA 5.1 license.

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has long been known for its traffic woes. The ongoing 20km long MRT line 6 project is expected to solve the crippling traffic jams that occur throughout the city on a daily basis. But this project, which is meant to alleviate the city's congestion problems, has brought on an increasing list of commuter headaches.

Construction-related traffic has literally brought the city to a standstill. After the government announced plans to construct two more MRT lines before the original MRT line 6 is completed, Dhaka's citizens took to social media to voice their bitter frustration.

Metro Rail misery in Dhaka

The construction of the first Metrorail (MRT Line 6) started in Dhaka in 2016 and its completion has been delayed till 2021.

The construction sites have aggravated the traffic situation, narrowing the available roads. In some places, half of the road width has been closed, bringing traffic to a crawl with many waiting in their cars for hours. The construction itself is also producing a large amount of dust and creating noise pollution.

Abdul Awal, a reader, mentions the sufferings in the comments section of an article in the Daily Prothom Alo:

এক মেট্রোরেলের কাজের জন্য জ্যামে বসে থাকতে থাকতে পশ্চাৎদেশ যে পরিমান ঘা হয়েছে তা শুকাতে শুকাতেই আরও কয়েক বছর লাগবে, তার উপর আরও দুইটা!!! এই জীবনে আর ঘা শুকানো হচ্ছে না বস!!!

The back pain I suffered waiting in traffic for the construction of the first Metro line will take years to heal. You are saying two more!! I will never be healed in my life!!

In the Facebook page of Prothom Alo, a reader named Raisa Mallick writes:

জ্যামে জীবন শেষ, বাংলার মানুষ মুক্তি চায়, দয়া করে মেট্রোরেল প্রকল্পের কাজ শেষ করেন, আর নতুন কিছু উদ্ভোদন করেন না, মতিঝিল থেকে মিরপুরে যাওয়া আসা করতে সময় লাগে ৫ থেকে ৬ ঘন্টা, আপনারাতো সিগনাল দিয়ে রাস্তা বন্ধ করে চলেন, সাধারণ মানুষের কি পরিমান কষ্ট হয় বুঝেন না।

People are suffering a lot for the traffic jams, the people want respite, please finish the first Metrorail project, and do not start anything new before that. It takes up to 5-6 hours to commute from Motijheel to Mirpur. The lawmakers commute with special clearance, you won't understand our pain.

Due to the construction of the Metrorail, traffic in Dhaka has been aggravated. Photo by Aktar Ahsan. From Flickr, published under a Creative Commons license.

The construction of the additional two metro rails will definitely increase traffic congestion in Dhaka. Ayub Rahman requested:

মাফ চাই। আর না।
যা শুরু করছেন তা আগে শেষ করেন!
We don't want the quantities,
we want quality

Forgive us. No more!
Finish what you are starting!
We don't want the quantities,
we want quality

Some also suggested an alternative to additional Metrorails to reduce traffic jams in Dhaka. Ashfaqul Arefin writes:

[…] জ্যাম কমাতে হলে কয়েক স্তরের যোগাযোগ ব্যবস্থা চালু করতে হবে: সড়ক, মেট্রোরেল এবং পানিপথ। ঢাকার শহরের ম্যাপ দেখলে বুঝতে পারবেন যে, ঢাকার লেক গুলোকে জায়গায় জায়গায় একটু সংযোগ করে দিতে পারলে ধানমন্ডি থেকে গুলশান পর্যন্ত পানিপথেও যাতায়াত করা যাবে, পথে পড়বে কলাবাগান, কাওরানবাজার, হাতিরপুল, তেজগাঁও, নয়াটোলা, মীরবাগ, রামপুরা, বাড্ডা, মহাখালী ও নিকেতন। ফলে চাপ কমবে সড়ক ও মেট্রোরেলের উপর।

[…] To reduce the jam, several levels of communication need to be introduced: roads, metro rails and waterways. Looking at the map of the city of Dhaka, you can understand that if you can connect the lakes of Dhaka, you can travel from Dhanmondi to Gulshan by water stopping at different places. As a result, the traffic will be reduced on roads and metro rails.

Dhaka megacity has an estimated population of 19.84 million people. Photo by Ahnaf Saber. Used under CC BY-SA 5.1 license.

There is life outside Dhaka

Offices, courts, businesses, employments, educations, medical care — everything in the country is concentrated in the capital of Dhaka. The lack of development activities in the cities outside Dhaka is noticeable. Whether it's for a suitable job or better medical services, people have to come to Dhaka. A reader named Akhtaruzzaman mentions one of his untimely losses after not receiving medical treatment in a city outside Dhaka:

সবকিছুই দরকারি, সাস্থ খাতে উন্নয়ন খুব জরুরী হয়ে পড়েছে। আমার চাচা স্ট্রোক করার পর দেখলাম কোন জেলা শহরে চিকিৎসা নাই বাধ্য হয়ে ঢাকায় নিয়ে এসে দেখি তার গোল্ডেন আওয়ার অনেক আগেই শেষ হয়ে গেছে । মেট্রোরেল দরকার তার চাইতে বেশি দরকার প্রত্যেক জেলা শহরে specialized হসপিটাল ।

Everything is required. But first, the development in the health sector is urgently required. After my uncle suffered from a stroke, the nearby cities did not have proper medical care for his complex case. After searching all, being forced to come all the way to Dhaka for medical treatment, I found out that it was too late for him. Before Metro rail, we need specialized hospitals in every district city.

Azhar Alam suggests setting up factories in the districts outside Dhaka:

এতো টাকা ব্যায় মেট্রোরেলে না করে ঢাকার বাইরের জেলা গুলোতে এই টাকা ব্যায় করে শিল্প কারখানা গড়ে তুললে মানুষ ঢাকামূখী কম হবে আর কর্মসংস্থানও বাড়বে।

Without spending this much money on Metro rail, investing the money in the factories in districts outside Dhaka will increase the employment and people will not end up in Dhaka.

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