Dhaka, Bangladesh
Will the new city fathers see?

Will the new city fathers see?

City fathers come and go in succession. But Dhaka smells years of decay and neglect despite occasional facelifts here and there. It sounds a big fun when it is called a megacity without providing some basic civic amenities for the public. Every mayor promises a clean and beautiful city, but the pledges go bust at length and the city-dwellers continue to suffer perennially. Dhaka has become virtually a litter-tip. The magnificent Mughal city now presents an unclean and untidy look with garbage lying littered here and there and everywhere. It is beyond our ken to explain why the main drags and streets should stink with the litterbins overflowing the dirt, filth and leftovers lying in heaps for days and defiling the air that pose serious health hazard. City roads are not swept clean regularly. Drains which are not flushed out at regular intervals remain filled with nauseating water breeding poisonous insects and mosquitoes. Besides, private clinics and hospitals have mushroomed in the city without having any car park. They often grab the major slice of the thoroughfares where vehicles park indiscriminately shrinking the space for traffic movement. Litterbins are also spotted there. The double jeopardy of hospital wastes and garbage combined makes the vicinity an absolute hell to live in. The grouses of city-dwellers about their plight were responded with thousand and one lame excuses and expostulations. But why should it be so? Is the scavenging staff too small to cope with the pace of the city's problems? Were the previous mayors' men not bothered and fit to oversee the lacunae and shirking of duty of scavenging staff? Were the mayors so toothless that they could not take strong action for fear of losing cheap popularity? Another bugbear is the wall writings, sticking of bills, posters, banners, hoardings which make the city wear a frightfully nasty look. But the city corporation remains impervious to this outrage of the city. Dhaka is now a suffocating city growing without corresponding extension of public amenities like water supply, electricity, sanitation, sewerage garbage disposal etc. The city lacks any master plan that is in limbo for years. The sylvan beauty of Ramna area with its green fields and meadows, unpolluted fresh air, meandering lakes is vanishing fast. Trees everywhere are felled. To cite at least one example, a small park adjacent to Khamarbari Ispahani Eye Hospital has vanished and the park now looks like a "waste land". People pin their hopes on the new mayors who are young with aesthetic sense that they will give us a tranquil town we long for where we can breathe fresh air for a little time.

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