Since the beginning of the twentieth century, traffic congestion in metro cities has been a serious problem. However there are very few cities in the world where traffic problem is as severe as it is in Dhaka.
The city of Dhaka has a rich 400 years of history. It accommodates 18 million people residing in its 350 square kilometers area. For any city populated so densely, traffic jam is inevitable. Overly crowded and backed up lines of slowly moving cars, buses and auto rickshaws somehow symbolizes Dhaka now. Any visitors new to Dhaka notice this as soon as coming out of the airport. The city authorities just cannot seem to be handling its huge traffic.
But now there seems to be a simple solution to the problem. What started with an internet savvy trend became the most effective solution to avoid traffic jam in Dhaka. Many people in Dhaka are now relying on cycles as the mean of transport. The streets of Dhaka are packed with four or three wheelers making them narrower. Thus cycling has become the most comfortable ride to take. Dhaka has always had cycles riding on the streets. But this specific two wheeler revolution started somewhere around the year 2011. A group named BDCyclists was formed with a few members which has over 35,000 enlisted members today. The trend of cycling started to catch the attention of the youth.
Eventually it caught the attention of the general public. People began to realize that instead of waiting for a crowded bus or rarely available autorickshaws, cycles can be a simple and comfortable replacement.
Also due to the heavily humid weather of Dhaka, cycling can be a very comfortable ride for the city. It is easy to ride, can fit through narrowest lanes and traffic congestion. Even there are no specific traffic rules for cycling. These are the vital issues behind the elevation of the cycling trend. More importantly, in the city of Dhaka, cycling is a much time saving ride compared to others. As a result the number of cycles on the roads is increasing day by day.
The residents of Dhaka are smoothly switching towards cycling. It seems to be the only possible way to get rid of the hellish traffic for now. Cycling has become the best option to cope with this traffic.
“That’s how we get 50%” - explained Lakshmi Venkatachalam, the Vice-President of Asian Development Bank, while sharing the insights of the Strategy 2020. Dawning as a savior in these days of economic predicament, Asian Development Bank has decided to increase its private sector exposure in Bangladesh. Accordingly they have adopted ‘Strategy 2020’ which supposedly will elevate ADB’s private sector coverage up to 50%.
2020 in a nutshell:
Considering the private sector to be ‘the driver of change’, ADB adopted highlighted the espousal of a certain strategy namely “Strategy 2020”. As described recently, ‘Strategy 2020 covers two aspects. First one is direct operations occupying 25 % of the allocation and the other one is the activities in the public sector targeting the progress of the private wings. According to the amazing Vice- President of Asian Development Bank, out of approximately $10bn worth of capital resources that the bank supplied, around $1.8bn went to the maneuver regarding this private sector.
Comments of the respected Vice- president, Lakshmi Venkatachalam
“Our [private sector] operation in Bangladesh is fairly modest but we want to grow it,” stated Lakshmi Venkatachalam, ADB Vice-President. She further shared that, Asian Development Bank aspires to be engaged with the Agro – Business, financial sector, potential undersized enterprises which assists financial intermediaries, skill development, variety of trainings and other related ventures. Explaining the significance of ADB’s decision, she said, “The support is very important as Bangladesh is an export-oriented economy.”
Being in charge of the private sector and co-financing operations at the bank, Ms. Lakshmi claimed that ADB has directly invested about $300 million in Bangladesh’s private sector so far. Along with that, they backed up $1.7 billion trade financing transaction in partnership with 13 banks in only last year.
The associated opportunities and threats
Foreseeing in the potential and scope in the Private sector of Bangladesh, Asian Development Bank predicts great underlying opportunities in this course of action.
Pleasantly, ADB has an agreement of co-financing with European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, German development bank and other development partners as well. In case of this resolution regarding Bangladeshi Private Sector .ADB representative claims to have no intention of displaying market forces rather, the Bank operates to suffice more than what the market forces can offer.
Covering the opportunities, it is time to move on to the challenges or potential threats. Considering various factors, ADB Vice president Senses that bank are being ‘on time ‘with the sustainable support for the project is going to be the veracious challenge of the venture.
Reminding that it is a non-sovereign operation, Ms. Lakshmi said, “The project is a combination of many things - good sponsors, strong development impact while the risk level must be acceptable and bankable”.
Moreover, funding appears to be another big challenge. Regarding this, the senior official of the Asian lender admitted that,” The bank has limitation to fund 25% of the project costs and that’s why it collaborates with other development partners when it directly invests in the private sector”.
At last, it all comes down to the outcome. “This is recognized that Asia needs infrastructures while we do need to augment the resources,” Lakhsmi Venkatachalam commented and added that ADB needs more co-financing for sustainable infrastructure development in the region.
Bangladesh emerged as a democratic country on the world map in 1971 after it won the nine months long liberation war against Pakistan. At present, about 160 million people live here in the total area of about 1,47,570 km.
Here is a list of five good thinks that you should know about Bangladesh:
1. Bangladesh is truly a riverine country, surrounded by an assortment of rivers including the Padma, the Meghna, the Jamuna, the Buriganga. Moreover it owns -Cox’s Bazar-, the longest sea beach in the world. This is the best thing that one could possibly ask for in terms of relaxation and tourism. The beach is always crowded with tourists. Another magnificent thing in terms of nature is the Sundarbans. This largest mangrove forest of the south west at the moment is the residence of above 400 Royal Bengal tigers.
2. Bangladesh has an extraordinary variation when it comes to seasons. This land in fact is a playground of a range of seasons. All of its six seasons embellish surroundings in a whole new manner which is a complete souvenir. Each of the seasons comes with abundant fruits, vegetables and breathtaking stunning weather.
3. Bangladesh is a land full of vivid celebrations. Is has rich historical and cultural presence. Bangladeshi people celebrate cultural and traditional festivals throughout the year. Bangladeshis are very apprehensive about preserving their customs. The Bengali New Year, known as Pahela Boishakh that comes on 14th April, is one of the most colorful and widely celebrated events of the year. Besides, there are other events such as Pahela Falgun (beginning of spring),Pithapuli Uthshob ,Nabanna uthshob (celebration in favor of the new crops) etc. The Biggest religious events are Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr”,”Eid-ul-Azha,Durga puja and Christmas. Although majority of the people are Muslims, there is a number of Hindu, Christian and Buddhist people living in Bangladesh. All of the religious events are more or less given equal priority and are celebrated by all that makes the occasions even more delightful.
4. Bangladeshi people are very much friendly and helpful. Foreigners who come to visit Bangladesh often admire hospitality and share the story of how much hardworking & caring they are. This is one of the reasons why tourists love to visit this land over and over again. A significant thing is – Bangladeshis live in joint families. It is in their culture not to live separately, they like it to be together. It is very rare & unusual for someone to live alone or separate from one’s family. This binding leads them to respect the elders and to be friendly with others.
5. The country is rich in agriculture. It is the rivers that fertile the soil and makes it eligible to grow various crops easily. Thus it has made a good industry on rice, tea jute etc. Garments and leather products are the major export earning sectors. Its garment products fulfill the necessity of many of the European countries including USA. Once Muslin and Jamdani clothes were used as luxurious garments in Europe & other countries which were weaved by Bengali weavers. Since then this industry has been expanding and supplying quality clothes worldwide.
The goodness of Bangladesh does not end here. For the visitors, plentiful of sites are there that should not be missed. Such as Nilgiri, Rangamati, Srimongol(tea garden), Bandarban and many more. Rickshaw, which is a tri-cycle, is another popular yet enjoyable ride readily available in all cities.