CHITTAGONG, Sep 25: The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) is formulating a 10-year master-plan under a project for ensuring better traffic management in the port-city.
The project is implemented with the financial assistance of the World Bank (WB). Its objective is to formulate the Strategic Urban Transport Master Plan (Chittagong SUTMP), through which the transport system of the port-city can be improved to a great extent.
E-Gen Consultants Ltd of Bangladesh, in association with Integrated Transport Planning of the UK, is responsible to conduct the project as consultancy firm.
In a workshop under the project, jointly arranged by CDA and WB at Radisson Blu on Sunday, the organizers said they would work to modernize the city's transport management within 10 years from 2020.
Academicians, experts, city planners, engineers, architects, professionals from various organizations concerned, trade-body leaders and representatives of different forums of public and private sector joined the workshop.
They went through a focus group discussion to identify the key issues that would be incorporated in the vision of the port-city's transport sector development in 10 years.
CDA Chairman Abdus Salam presided over the programme, and briefed on the master-plan's objectives.
WB project team leader David Ingham presented a keynote paper. He analyzed the opportunities Chittagong has and the challenges it is currently facing for becoming a city of modern and convenient transport system, citing examples of some existing model cities.
WB project task team leader Shigeyuki Sakaki also spoke on the occasion, while acting chief town planner and project coordinator of CDA Shahinul Islam Khan presented an overview of the project.
In his speech as the chief guest Minister of Housing and Public Works Engineer Mosharraf Hossain said traffic management in the port-city is very poor, as a planned traffic system is yet to develop there.
Vehicles in Dhaka, Chittagong and elsewhere in the country get engaged in competition to overtake each other. By constructing a number of flyovers in the port-city over the last few years CDA has tried to solve the problem partially, he also said.
Besides, traffic accidents are regular phenomenon, which take away many lives. The drivers responsible for these accidents get one or two years' imprisonment only and commit the same crime after coming out of jail. Capital punishment must be ensured for the killer drivers, he opined.
The Minister also blamed Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) for grabbing Jatisangha Park in Panchlaish residential area.
He added that the park along with the residential area was handed over to Public Works Department (PWD) during the Pakistan period, but CCC says it owns it by possession.
CCC Panel Mayor Chowdhury Hasan Mahmud Hasni, who was the special guest in the programme, said the park came under CCC long back when Mr Mosharraf was a member of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. CCC has planned to turn the park into a modern one, as local children have very limited access to amusement facilities.
CDA is undertaking various development projects in the city, but it must work in full coordination with CCC as per the directives issued from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), he added.
In the focus group discussion the public representatives focused on introduction of a cost-effective and safe public transportation system in the city. They said the system should be an integrated, people-friendly and environment-friendly one.
Besides, the authority concerned should introduce commuter trains in the branch lines of Eastern Railway on the already existing railway lines of Chittagong-Dohazari and Chittagong-Nazirhat lines, they opined.
Thousands of people entering the port-city daily from different areas can easily depart the city, and thus the existing traffic congestion would ease, they added.
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