Planning Minister MA Mannan on Sunday said administrative decentralisation can be an option to reduce Dhaka's nagging traffic jam.
"The traffic management in Dhaka is now in a dire situation. Support from all stakeholders is needed to resolve the problem. Administrative decentralisation can be a way to reduce the traffic pressure in the city," he said.
The minister was addressing a seminar titled "The future planning of urban transportation in Dhaka" organised by Mukto Akash magazine at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) auditorium in the capital.
He underscored the need for accomplishing administrative activities of all the districts locally, saying it will help ease the traffic situation in Dhaka to some extent.
Mannan also said there are weaknesses in the plan implementation. "We take loans different times [from donors] to implement projects when we have to look into their interest. That's a big problem.”
He said official activities in some developed countries are done from home. "If we can ensure online system and work from home, then the traffic pressure will be reduced."
Citing a study, Editor and Publisher of Mukto Akash Md Shamsul Alam said around 50 lakh work hours are wasted every year in traffic jam in Dhaka which costs the country Tk 37,000 crore economically.
"The traffic jam is very worrying issue here. Short and long term plans should be taken to address it,” he said.
Chairman of Urban Habitant Consultants Architect Tanvir Nawaz read out the keynote paper at the event.
"The population of the megacity (Rajuk/STP area) could double to over 4 crore by 2050. Around 2 crore people are now living in this area. So, a dire situation here will be created in future if we don't take proper plans now," he said.
Former President of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) Engineer Md Abdul Awal said Dhaka’s traffic jam will be reduced by 50 percent if the government can ensure proper traffic management.
Prof Zebun Nasreen Ahmed of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) underscored the need for taking proper policy and creating awareness among people to settle the issue.
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) Executive Director Khandaker Rakibur Rahman, Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry (BACI) President Engineer SM Khorshed Alam, Centre for Management Development Director AMM Khairul Bashar and Engineer Md Hafizur Rahman, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested a woman and her son reportedly along with Yaba pills and hemp from Khulshi area of the port city on Sunday.
The arrestees were identified as Hosne-ara Begum, 45, wife of Md Momin, and their son Sumon, 20.
Assistant Director (Media) of Rab -7 Assistant Superintendent of Police Mahmudul Hasan Mamun said they conducted a drive at the residence of one Abdul Malek Mia at Motijharna around 1pm following a tip-off and arrested the duo.
During the drive, 1,505 Yaba pills, 3.3 kg hemp and Tk 566,960 in cash were seized from their possession, he said.
“The duo confessed that they had long been involved in drug peddling in bordering areas of Chattogram,” the ASP added.
There are five cases filed against Hosne-ara with Khulshi Police Station while her son is accused in three cases filed with different police stations, he said.
A fresh narcotic case was also filed against them.
The High Court on Sunday acquitted four of the five convicts who were sentenced to death by a lower court in a case filed over the murder of Jamalpur teenager Shahjamal Swadhin in 2010.
After hearing the death reference and the appeals filed by the convicts, the HC bench of Justice Krishna Debnath and Justice Muhammad Mahbub Ul Islam also commuted the death penalty of the prime convict to the life imprisonment considering that he is underage.
Advocate SM Shahjahan and Advocate Badrudoza Badal stood for the convicts while Deputy Attorney General Md Bashir Ullah represented the state.
According to the prosecution, the five adolescents stabbed the Shahjamal Swadhin, 15, a Class-X student of Rashidpur Qawmi Madrasa in Jamamlpur Sadar upazila, on March 23, 2010 following a dispute over a mobile phone.
The five were arrested after the victim’s father filed a case in this regard.
On January 20, 2015, a Jamalpur court sentenced the five accused to death over the murder. All of them are now behind the bars.
Citing the report of an international survey, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Sunday said the economy of Bangladesh will surpass that of Malaysia and Singapore by 2024.
"The economy of Bangladesh flourished immensely under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The country will overtake Malaysia and Singapore by 2024," he said.
The finance minister was addressing a discussion organised by Development Journalist Forum of Bangladesh (DJFB) at the NEC auditorium in the capital.
According to a report published by UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research in early January, Bangladesh is set to become the world's 26th largest economy within the next decade.
It says Bangladesh's economy, now ranked 40th, will overtake heavyweights such as Malaysia (34th), Hong Kong (37th), Singapore (38th), Denmark (40th) and Norway (36th).
Mustafa Kamal said Bangladesh will achieve all of its goals by the estimated time.
He said the government allocates land for those who are landless to rehabilitate them.
The finance minister said journalists should work together with the government for the country’s development and urged them to write stories on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Liberation War and Language Movement.
Speaking at the programme as a special guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan described poverty as the country's main problem.
He also urged journalists to file investigative reports more and more. “We want to ensure the free flow of information,” he said, assuring them of necessary cooperation.
Member of General Economic Division (Senior secretary) Prof Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Division Secretary Nurul Amin, IMED Secretary Abul Mansur Md Faizullah, ERD Secretary Begum Fatema Yesmin, DJFB President FHM Humayun Kabir and General Secretary Arifur Rahman were, among others, present there.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members on Sunday raided two city houses of Jubo Mohila League leader Shamima Nur Papiya and her rented presidential suite at a five-star hotel, and seized Tk 58.41 lakh in cash among other things.
The elite force arrested Papiya, 28, general secretary of Narsingdi district unit of Mohila Jubo League, her husband Mofizur Rahman alias Sumon Chowdhury alias Moti Sumon, 38, and their two associates -–Sabbir Khandaker, 29, and Sheikh Tayiba, 22 -- from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 11am on Saturday while trying to flee the country.
It also recovered seven passports, around Tk 2.12 lakh in cash, Tk 25,600 in fake currency, huge amount of fake currencies of different countries from their possession during the arrest.
Briefing reporters at the Rab’s Karwan Bazar Media Centre on Sunday afternoon, Commanding Officer of Rab-1 Lt Col Shafi Ullah Bulbul said during preliminary interrogation, Papiya and her husband revealed that they have two flats at Indira Road in the capital and they also rented the presidential suite of a luxury hotel for 59 days between October 12 last and February 13.
They paid around Tk 81 lakh to the hotel as the rent of that suite and they used to fully book a bar of the hotel and pay around 2.5 lakh per day as liquor bill, he said.
Based on their information, a Rab team conducted drives at the presidential suite and the two flats from 4am on Sunday and recovered a foreign pistol along with two magazines, 20 bullets, five bottles of foreign liquor, Tk 58.41 lakh in cash, five passports and 10 ATM cards of different banks, the Rab official added.
Replying to a query, he said Papiya along with her husband and the two associates was trying to flee the country on Saturday sensing that law enforcement agencies started investigation against them on charge of money laundering.
Lt Col Bulbul said though Papiya and Sumon have no specific profession, they amassed huge wealth, including flats and houses, in posh areas both in Dhaka and Narsingdi through running the illegal trade of arms, drugs and anti-social activities, and extortion.
He said the couple used to collect young girls from Narsingdi with a promise to give them good jobs but force them to engage in anti-social activities. “They used to torture them if anyone refused to get involved in unethical activities.”
Asked about the political identity of Papiya, the Rab-1 commanding officer declined to make comment in this regard.
Meanwhile, Jubo Mohila League has expelled Papiya on charges of running illegal arms and drug trade and indulging in money laundering and immoral activities.
A press release signed by Jubo Mohila League President Nazma Akhter and General Secretary Prof Apu Ukil on Sunday said the action was taken against her for violating the party discipline.