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Old Dhaka's businesses

Combing operation against chemical depots after Eid

Eco-friendly and Internet of Things-based transport system to be implemented in Dhaka soon: Taposh

FE REPORT | April 03, 2024 00:00:00

The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) is set to conduct a combing operation against chemical warehouses at old Dhaka with intent to relocate them after Eid-ul-Fitr.

DSCC mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh made the announcement during a meeting hosted by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at its Motijheel office on Tuesday.

"We'll launch a combing operation after Eid to relocate chemical and other hazardous businesses from old Dhaka to Shyampur industrial estate following the official procedure with industries ministry."

He said this while addressing a view-exchange meeting styled 'Impact of Gridlock on Trade and Commerce at Old Dhaka and Way Forward' as the chief guest.

Additional police commissioner (traffic) Md Munibur Rahman and Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) executive director Neelima Akter were present as guests of honour.

DCCI president Ashraf Ahmed delivered an address of welcome and also moderated the discussion.

Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited director Abdul Baki Mia, former DTCA executive director Dr SM Salehuddin, business leaders and old Dhaka-based tradespeople, among others, joined the meeting.

In his speech, Mr Taposh said the old Dhaka could not be left as a risky area any more amid recurring fire incidents there.

"The warehouse and factories required for chemical industries have been established by industries ministry at Shyampur industrial estate," he said.

However, only one trader has so far shifted there while another has applied for trade licence, according to the mayor.

A total of 1,924 chemical and related businesses are listed with the DSCC, he said, adding that the issuance of new licence remained suspended since 2017.

Many businesses in old Dhaka use ground floors as warehouses of hazardous elements and top floors as residential units, which are highly risky, according to the mayor.

"If required," he warned, "we'll disconnect power and water supply there."

The mayor also talked about the DSCC measures taken to improve liveability through addressing waterlogging and hawking, and recovering land.

DCCI president Ashraf Ahmed predicts that old Dhaka alone contributes an estimated 20 per cent to GDP as it is one of the country's largest trading hubs and millions of taka is transacted daily.

Due to congestion, according to him, working hours worth of about Tk 1.4 billion are being lost daily.

Moreover, unplanned urbanisation and expansion in Bangladesh have created traffic congestion that result in an estimated 2.9 per cent GDP loss, he added.

Mr Ahmed suggested introducing a one-way traffic system, artificial intelligence (AI)-based traffic signalling, administrative decentralisation, a long-term urban development strategy and expansion of metro-rail in old Dhaka.

Meanwhile, Mr Baki said the government would complete all the six lines of the mass rapid transit (MRT) by 2030.

Of them, MRT-02 has a plan to connect old Dhaka with its route from Gabtoli to Narayanganj.

He also suggested building a couple of bridges over the Buriganga river to ease old Dhaka's traffic.

Mayor Taposh said eco-friendly and Internet of Things (IoT)-based transport system would be implemented in Dhaka soon.

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