General secretary of Khatunganj Trade and Industries Association and director of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Syed Sagir Ahamed, said that Chattogram is a port city and there should be no interruption in traffic flow to facilitate a congenial business environment.
Businesspeople, especially the importers and exporters, are greatly affected by this continued hazard of tailback.
Chattogram was the lifeline of the country. The traffic flow needed to remain uninterrupted round the clock, he said.
‘Even four to five years back traffic congestion on the streets of Chattogram city was hardly seen. Now it has become a common phenomenon,’ he added.
Day after day, commuters in the city had been dissipating their valuable time on the road and were going through inestimable plight as traffic gridlock, over the years, gradually spiraled out of control, Syed Sagir said.
‘Chattogram has the potential to become a global financial centre and regional transshipment hub for northeast India, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, and southeast China.
The British, and even the Pakistanis, prioritised Chattogram over other cities considering its location and potentiality. Globally, port cities are given special importance for the economic development of countries, and these cities are developed as commercial capitals or hubs,’ said the businessman.
Sagir said that around 98 per cent of export and import was carried out through Chattogram port. But the infrastructural development had not yet been completed in a planned way in this city. As a result businessmen suffered due to various constraints.
The incessant traffic jam that made city life often come to a standstill were taking toll on all. It took 2-3 hours to reach from airport to GEC or Lalkhan Bazar area, he complained.
‘Buyers from different countries don’t want to come to Chattogram as it takes a long time to enter the main city from airport which is waste of time, energy and working hours,’ he continued.
Not only buyers, he added, office-goers struggled every day to reach their workplaces and in the evening to return to their home after work.
Businesses are counting losses due to continued chaos on the roads.
‘Freighting has become a burden. Earlier one truck charged Tk 2,000-2,500, now it is Tk 5,500-6,000 due to gridlock in the city where every day nearly 10,000 trucks and trailers, covered vans ply the roads,’ he argued, and hastened to add, ‘If the goods-laden vehicles cannot reach the depot on time the number of trips decreases and all these leave a decisive impact on the price of the goods which is ultimately paid by the consumers.’
He was also of the opinion that prime minister Sheikh Hasina allocated a huge sum of money for the development of Chattogram but the projects were not being implemented properly by the concerned agencies.
It was very unfortunate that Chattogram had been getting adequate allocation but the citizens were not getting the benefit of the mega projects like flyovers, he concluded.
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