Little power to bring changes, say two Dhaka mayors

Little power to bring changes, say two Dhaka mayors

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Dhaka – Two mayors of the bifurcated Dhaka City Corporation think lack of coordination among various service-providing agencies and political clouts have made their job to improve living in the capital, report unb staff writers M Jahangir Alam & Maksud-Ul-Islam Joarder.
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sayeed Khokon say, the elected mayors must have the authority to get their job done by different government agencies to provide desired utility services to the city dwellers.They say they have been making frantic efforts to check littering and free footpaths from illegal occupation to keep their election promise of presenting a ‘clean and beautiful Dhaka’, but people’s awareness and cooperation are crucial to have a marked success in this.
On November 29, 2011, the government formed two city corporations -–DNCC and DSCC — in the capital splitting the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) into two. Elections however were held about three years and a half later in April 2016.
“If any one asks me if I want a city government? I’ll say ‘no’, but I need some authority. A mayor needs some power to coordinate with the service-providing agencies for ensuring better services for the city dwellers,” said DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq.
He said the lack of coordination among the different uility service agencies is the biggest challenge to providing quality civic amenities and this badly affects their performance.
“If the government provides DNCC with at least one hundred police, its current chaotic scenario will be changed shortly. The scenario of occupied city areas will change and waste management improve as the police will work for DNCC as per its requirement,” he said.
Annisul said the first challenge he faced as a mayor to free the mayor’s office from the control of hoodlums, mainly labour leaders.
Another challenge was to maintain the quality of development works as the image of engineers was not good, Annisul said adding, “I gave them a message there’ll be no compromise with quality…and it worked well.”
About his electoral pledge to make the city green, the mayor said they have taken a plan to plant five lakh trees in three years which will change the landscape and environment of the city.
Annisul said there will be holiday markets at each ward within three months to rehabilitate hawkers and the first one will be in Mirpur.
He said they have taken various steps like holding consultation meetings with city dwellers, alongside campaigns for creating public awareness to make the city clean.
“People have voted us to serve them. We’re working sincerely and the councillors are so doing to improve the quality of our services,” the DNCC mayor said.
Sayeed Khokon mayor of DSCC said he has brought about changes in the services of the by implementing some projects over the last one year, bu it will take more time to make the development of the city visible.
“One year is a short period of time. “We’ve identified problems and taken well-considered and sustainable plans to resolve those gradually,” he said.
Asked what major challenges and problems he faced in the first year of his tenure, Khokon, son of first elected mayor DCC Mohammad Hanif, said the lack of coordination among 56 different utility service providers is a major obstacle to ensuring civic amenies for the city dwellers.
Khokon said he along with the DNCC mayor requested the Prime Minister to form a coordination committee under her leadership to overcome the problems. “She’s assured us of taking a step in this regard very soon.”
He blamed some politicians and police for his failure to free footpaths in some areas of the city from illegal occupiers, despite the making of several drives.
About public awareness, especially to make the city clean, Khokon said they have launched ‘Clean Dhaka 2016’ campaign for this.

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