Dhaka Day by Day – traffic jam

Dhaka Day by Day – traffic jam

Traffic Jam

With the numbers and assorted varieties of vehicles (some of which have to be seen to be believed!) on the Dhaka streets having skyrocketed in recent years, traffic jams have become have an inevitable part of the daily lives of Dhaka-dwellers. Whatever vehicle you happen to use yourself, there is absolutely no way to avoid the regular traffic snarl-ups that occur all over town. Under the circumstances, most of us have to resign ourselves to the cacophony around us, and concentrate on trying to think about something else – anything else! After all, we don’t have the options of some of the inhabitants of Bangkok, who consider the time spent in traffic jams every day to be part of “family time”, and have TVs and fridges installed in their vehicles to help pass the time.

Traffic trivia

Traffic trivia

On the other hand, since we presumably don’t want to end up to infamous inhabitants of Los Angeles (some of whom have been known to shoot after drivers in the midst of traffic jams – perhaps as a means of expressing their frustrations!), some harmless form of entertainment should be found to help us pass the time. One useful option is to cultivate an interest in “rickshaw art”.

Seriously, it is quite interesting to see the wide range of pictures which are which are painted onto the backs of baby-taxis and rickshaws. You see everything from fluffy white kittens to coy parrots and cavorting dolphins. Familiar scenes for Dhaka are include the parliament building and the martyrs’ monument, but then you also see quite peculiar scenes such as an alpine village nested at the foot of snowcapped mountains (no doubt painted by an artist longing for some coolness in the midst of the Bangladeshi summer!) or a grim-looking Rambo figure toting a remarkably large gun (anyone want to comment on the evidence of cultural imperialism here?!).

Along with the traditional depictions of the Taj Mahal and lush green villages, you can see the rather more avant-garde Sydney Opera House, and any number of futuristic metropolises, with curving highways, high-tech cars and towering skyscrapers. But my own favorites are the occasional animal figures (lions, tigers, jackals) seen riding on rickshaws, driving speedboats and shooting at sea-gragons. There is clearly no limit to the artistic imagination!

If that pastime palls, then you can turn to the interesting messages that are written on the back of some of the trucks that ply the city. A sense of humor is very evident in many of these writings. Take the following: “Biri Khabi Kha, More Jabi Ja” (roughly translated as. “You want to smoke, then go ahead and kill yourself.”) A number of these statements are concerned with the possibility of excessive closeness between vehicles leading to accidents — ranging from inscribed, “Chhi, Chii, tumi ato kachey” (Shame on you for coming so close to me) to the more progressive. “Akbar laiggai dekhen na” (Why don’t you bump me just once and see what I do to you) “Ei, shon, lagley khobor achhey” (Hey, you, if you bump into me then we’ll really have something to talk about).

Nor are the baby-taxis being left behind in this game. One zoomed past me, bearing the legend, “Ei rasta kobey phurabey” (when will this road finally come to an end). A number of them have also adopted the slogan of “Amakey mero na, ami choto” (don’t hit me, I’m little). Though perhaps in their case, it has less to do with a sense of humor and more with a sense of self-preservation! Whatever their motives, they certainly provide the bored motorist w3ith some amusement during Dhaka’s rush-hour gridlocks.

By Farah Ghuznavi


Traffic jams reappearing

SOME improvements in the traffic movement of Dhaka city have been noticeable following the change of government last year. The communication ministry under its present leadership has been showing some appreciable interest in improving traffic movement in the city. This was reflected in more attention paid by traffic policemen at ground level to keep the traffic flowing smoothly.

But whatever good things were achieved in the sphere of traffic movement in the city seem about to be lost as the indifference and lack of seriousness in relation to their duties are once again creeping back among the traffic policemen. In the last couple of days, the city experienced heavy traffic jams at many points. The rains and dilapidated sections of roads contributed to these jams as some would contend. But to the careful observer, it was apparent that more than any other factor, the attitude of traffic policemen and their lack of devotion to their jobs were the most important reasons for the reappearance of the jams in much the same fashion as in the past.

Traffic jams in Dhaka

Traffic jams in Dhaka

Traffic must not be held up for too long at busy intersections. But the traffic policemen are seen holding up traffic at many intersections for an inordinate length of the time with the result that long queues of vehicle build up in the rear as a consequence. When the signal is at last given for these vehicles have passed through, the signal is given again for the vehicles to stop. Such improper signaling, thus, leads frequently to jams of the sort that have been seen in recent days.

Besides, the traffic policemen are hardly seen doing their duties in relation to improper parking of vehicles in busy roads and areas. Buses do not stop at designated bus stops but in the middle of the roads from where passengers embark and disembark. Traffic policemen turn a blind eye to such practices. The buses thus block the way for the other vehicles and jams build up. In many places of the city’s roads, traffic policemen are seen stopping buses, trucks and other vehicles to examine their papers. The real motive is bribe and as the traffic policemen allegedly remain busy in collecting bribes, they find no time to do their real job with care and this is not a small factor often for the creation of traffic jams. Senior police officials hive to keep watch and play due role in this regard for ensuring smooth flow of traffic. It is important that the relevant ministry should take hard look afresh at the poor quality of traffic management in the city with a view to improving the same.

Traffic jams in Bangladesh

Traffic jams in Bangladesh

 

 

 


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