Fragmented governance undermines urban utility services | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 05, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:29 AM, November 05, 2018

Fragmented governance undermines urban utility services

Speakers say at Urban Development Directorate workshop

Fragmented urban governance has, for decades, undermined the quality of various utility services in Dhaka city, said an urban planning professor at a workshop in the capital yesterday.

Urban Development Directorate (UDD) organised the workshop on the theme of “Building sustainable and resilient cities” at Housing and Building Research Institute on the occasion of World Cities Day [observed worldwide on October 31].

“Delivery of utility services like safe water, electricity and waste management in Dhaka city is neither consistent nor trusted in terms of quality and required quantity,” said Prof Golam Moinuddin of Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Jahangirnagar University.

A well-structured governance system is a must to ensure delivery of civic services to consumers in a coordinated and desired way, he said during a presentation on governance in service delivery scenario.

Over the past three decades, service costs have increased but quality has not improved, he said, adding that governance in utility service delivery in the capital city during the time has virtually suffered a consistent reversal in the name of decentralisation.    

 “All Dhaka dwellers pay equally for utility services but all do not receive the same quality of service,” said Moinuddin.

Fifty-six agencies are involved in providing service in Dhaka city, and coordination among utility service providers is vital to ensure good service, he said. But cooperation and coordination are often held back due to inter-organisational ego of who is more powerful and important.

Citing that urban economy contributes 60 percent to the country's GDP, Uttam Kumar Saha, strategic lead of Practical Action, said inclusion and progress of slum dwellers are crucial to make urbanisation sustainable.

It must be ensured that smaller towns grow in a planned way, he said.

The aim of the workshop is to catalyse a platform for developing ownership among the professionals and future decision-makers of urbanisation, said UDD director Dr. Khurshid Zabin Hossain Taufique.

Professionals, educators and practitioners delivered some 20 presentations at the workshop, on a range of aspects of sustainable and resilient urbanisation, including governance, climate change, economic and social inclusiveness and improvement of informal sectors.

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