The government should develop rail and water ways sectors instead of only focusing on road communications in a bid to ensure the overall development of the communications system, said environmentalists and right activists at a discussion yesterday.
Railway and waterway communications are easier and cheaper than road communications. So, the government should undertake comprehensive programmes for developing the two sectors to facilitate public movement and goods transportation, they viewed.
The discussion titled "Lack of Comprehensive Communications System, Traffic Congestion and Risky Movement" was jointly organised by Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) and WBB (Work for a Better Bangladesh) Trust at Poba office in the capital.
Presenting the keynote paper, Poba Executive General Secretary Abdus Sobhan said water and rail ways communications are weakening day by day due to a lack of proper government plans.
On the other hand, road communications are expanding, resulting in severe traffic congestions and increasing road accidents, environmental hazards, health hazards and public sufferings.
Around 8 lakh of working hours are wasted daily and Tk 20,000 crores are lost annually due to traffic congestions in Dhaka city, he added.
The government is working to construct four-lane and eight-lane roads, flyovers and other giant structures but they do not think about constructing double or triple tracks in railways, he viewed.
"While railway is getting priority in developed countries as a safe and pro-environment mode of communications, we are walking completely in the opposite direction," he said.
Sobhan also placed several recommendations that include modernisation of railways and waterways, proper maintenance of their routes, government's strict monitoring to check unfit vehicles, refraining unskilled drivers from operating vehicles, and ensuring safe footpath.
WBB Trust Director Syed Mahbubul Alam said the government is protecting interests of a vested quarter by only promoting road communications, but the overall communications system is collapsing due to this policy.
WBB Trust National Advocacy Officer Maruf Rahman said the government should chalk out short, mid and long term plans for promoting rail and water ways communications.
Safe Waterway Movement Member Secretary Aminur Rasul sought more investments in the two sectors for their development.
In order to cope up with the upcoming Eid rush, the discussants stressed the need for coordination among the activities of Dhaka city corporations, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Activists of different environmental and rights organisations spoke among others.