FOR three years in a row Dhaka has ranked 2nd from bottom in the Economist Intelligence Unit's survey of 140 cities under the Global Liveability Index. The scores are based on five major criteria -- health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure. That Dhaka tops only Damascus, the capital of a war-torn country, is no comfort for the 15 million residents of Dhaka. However, we are not altogether surprised by the results; we have downgraded our environment by its systematic destruction, there is lack of proper public transportation, and the horrendous traffic system and poor management is costing the GDP 1-2 per cent in annual growth according to Asian Development Bank's latest estimate,
Our score of 29.2 on a scale of 100 is identical with Damascus and we are aghast to learn that Dhaka is lagging behind it by nearly 5 full points in infrastructure though Damascus has experienced siege and bombardment over the last four years whereas Dhaka has been at peace for over four decades since independence.
Evidently, we have made no great strides in improving the lives of Dhaka residents. The government's decision to bifurcate the city corporation has yielded no benefits to the citizens. Similarly, the allocation of money on useless beautification of the city could be better spent on upgrading city utility services. Without a healthy population and infrastructure development, improvement in the liveable worth of the capital city will not happen. Let us hope we do not find ourselves at the bottom of the list next year.