The Dhaka Metropolitan Police have no special programme to manage the traffic congestion situation ahead of the reopening of educational institutions as scheduled from March 30.
People in the city are already experiencing huge congestions in different areas, especially during busy hours, due to construction works under different mega infrastructural projects, including the metro-rail.
Academics and town planners have expressed concern that the traffic situation could aggravate with the reopening of schools, colleges, madrassas and universities without adequate measures to manage an increased pressure on roads.
They urged the authorities to improve the traffic management system, especially making the signalling system active and rescheduling the timing of schools based on areas.
DMP additional commissioner for traffic Md Munibur Rahman told New Age in the past week that they did not have any special plan for managing traffic when educational institutions would reopen.
‘If traffic congestions increase after the reopening of educational institutions, we will manage traffic following regular steps like diversion of routes and engaging more traffic police where necessary,’ he said.
The traffic management is a continuous process, he added.
The cabinet in a meeting on February 27, decided to reopen schools, colleges and madrassahs on a limited scale maintaining the health guidelines on March 30 and universities on May 24.
All educational institutions have remained closed since March 18, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At a programme on Friday, education minister Dipu Moni, however, said that the decision about reopening educational institutions might go through a review if the COVID-19 situation continued to deteriorate in the country.
Currently, the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company Limited is implementing the 21.26-kilometre Mass Rapid Transit Line-6, popularly known as metro rail, on the Uttara Phase 3-Pallabi-Rokeya Sarani-Khamarbari-Farmgate-Karwanbazar-Shahbagh-TSC-Doyel Chattar-Topkhana Road-Bangladesh Bank-Kamalapur route.
Due to the construction works on the busy route, huge traffic congestions have become an everyday affair on different points, where different educational institutes are also situated.
The areas are Uttara, Mirpur 10, Rokeya Sarani, Agargaon, Farmgate, Karwanbazar, Hatirpool, Shahbagh, Dhaka University and Motijheel.
Currently, the traffic on the Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue is diverted from the Banglamotor intersection to the Sonargaon road to facilitate the project works which has increased the sufferings of people.
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway project is being implemented on the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport-Kuril-Banani-Mohakhali-Tejgaon-Moghbazar-Kamalapur-Saidabad-Jatrabari-Kutubkhali (Dhaka-Chattogram national highway) route.
The DMRTCL has recently started the initial works of the MRT line -1 at Rampura.
The Route of the metro rail is divided in two parts — Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport-Kamalapur and Natun Bazar-Pitolganj Depot.
The traffic police now control vast flows of traffic with manual signals as all initiatives, including installation of automated traffic signals at 70 road crossings and timer countdown, to digitalise the traffic signal system in the capital has failed in the past 20 years even after spending crores of taka.
Professor Md Musleh Uddin Hasan of urban and regional planning department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology told New Age on Saturday that the ineffectiveness of the current traffic management system would not be changed easily.
‘The pressure of traffic will definitely increase following the reopening of educational institutions,’ he said, urging the authorities to consider rescheduling of the school and college times at busy areas along with the weekly holiday of market places.
Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of the Bangladesh Paribesh Andalan and an architect, told New Age on Thursday that despite their expectation, the authorities did not take initiatives, including making the signalling system active — to improve the traffic management system during the restricted movement amid the pandemic.
He mentioned that construction works of different infrastructural projects, including U-loops, were ongoing while an increase in the number of the motorcycles became a major problem.
Iqbal urged the traffic management authorities to make the traffic signals active, introduce one-way and alternative route systems and to take an integrated plan to check severe traffic congestions on roads if schools and colleges reopened.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country