Traffic jam: Education and health services remain imperative

Published : Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Bangladesh, being a fast developing country, has established itself as a role model of development in front of the world. Along with this development, the lifestyle of the citizens is also rapidly changing especially due to the adoption of new technology and notable economic growth. With all the developments projects in hand to be completed within the next ten years, this change is going to be highly visible. But several hassles associated with availing services associated with basic rights of the citizens still remains. 

Particularly, the gaps are more associated with the rural area people while hassles are associated with the urban or city people, mostly in the area of education and health. To properly realize the impacts of the current huge development works under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, these gaps and hassles have to be addressed at the earliest and the government and civil planners should start working on that as soon as possible.

Traffic jam may be the greatest problem of the city dwellers of our country; especially for the Dhaka citizens. Life becomes terrible due to this intolerable time waste on the street while being victims of different types of pollutions. We have talked about several reasons behind this hassle but often ignore a vital one. Everyday in Dhaka city thousands of children and teenagers move from one part of the city to other to reach their schools and colleges. The parents or elders also need to accompany them. It becomes pathetic for these children to travel this far under severe unsupportive environment. 

If we even ignore the tiring journey, there is also a serious problem and that is the traffic jam caused by this scenario. This two-way journey everyday is causing a lot of vehicle movements. In most cases it is two-way but four journeys as the guardians drops their children at schools and goes back to home or office and again come to pick up their children. These movements are causing a lot of traffic but we do not talk about this much as we have taken it as a daily unavoidable necessity but with a little intent and effort this can be avoided.

The children from all around the country moves to Dhaka or other cities for their education as the parents want their kids to be competitive which pushes them to provide the best possible education to their children. Moreover, outside the cities and especially in the rural areas, quality education is highly missing. At many areas, there is no good school and no good teacher making parents concerned. And their concern is not at all wrong as we as human always strive to improve our lives. But this scenario would have changed if there were good schools with good teachers at rural areas and suburbs. If the children from these rural areas could have received their education in their own locality the pressure of high population as well as traffic jam could have been reduced to a great extent.

The scenario is unfortunately similar in the city areas also. Though the students do not make city to city journey here but they do make area to area journey a lot. There are few good and famed schools in Dhaka and in other cities also. The guardians rush to admit their children in those schools. Wherever the residence location is, the parents do not care if their kid gets admitted in those schools. They make heavy movement between different parts of the city. As it is not possible for the children to reach their schools without a vehicle, thousands of vehicles move inside Dhaka for this educational purpose only. 

It is not wrong that the parents will try hard to provide their children a good life with every best thing possible. Moreover, the parents, on many instances, purchase cars for their children’s movement for education as that ensures the security and remove a lot of hassles but it actually contributes to the higher number of vehicles on the streets of cities like Dhaka. But moving throughout the city cannot be necessary to serve that purpose because with a little planning in action, we can create good educational facility at every locality. 

Moreover, the best public universities like; Dhaka University, BUET, Dhaka Medical College etc. and the best private universities like; NSU, IUB, EWU, Brac University etc. are all located in Dhaka. Despite having public universities in other divisional cities of Bangladesh, students from all around the country eyes on the universities of Dhaka as studying in these institutions are prestigious and adds huge value to career. This inward movement of students at Dhaka actually creates traffic jam, which can be avoided if the public universities outside Dhaka can be developed with the same facility and standard as that of universities in Dhaka.

Time wasted in traffic and transition is also causing physical and psychological disorders for the children as well as the elders. They have to wait in unbearable condition for hours as they become victims of air pollution, dust pollution and extreme heat or rain for hours. Sweating in a vehicle where you cannot breathe due to the dust particles in the air is truly very inhuman. Our children are facing this trauma from the very beginning of their childhood and it will have serious consequences on their mentality and physicality. It may not be visible today but as they will grow up with severe symptoms like loss of focus on tasks, disrespectfulness, irregularities, indiscipline, self-centeredness etc. 

Not only people need to move for education but also for medical purposes, people need to move from one place to another to a great extent in our country. There is no good medical solution available in the rural areas of Bangladesh. Though there are government medical hospitals at least till upazila level and also some private clinics but the services there is horrible. Except for some regular diseases, people cannot trust the facilities there which compel them to rush towards Dhaka or any other divisional cities for better treatment facility. Though good doctors are appointed by the government for every upazila, they are almost never present at their working locations. Hence, this deprivation is directly creating pressure on the traffic situation of Dhaka and other cities.

In Dhaka also, citizens make a lot of movement for medical purposes. The doctors practice in different locations; the medical test labs prescribed by the doctor is usually far away from the place at which the patient has gone for treatment; collecting different medical products also require movement from one area to another and all these are actually worsening the traffic condition. We are not being able to provide one stop services in our localities and there is no monitoring over these issues as we lack strategic planning in shaping up our cities. It brings a question–when the basic rights services will be made available in the community to make it hassle-free. 

In many developed countries, a good practice exists. The students from one locality must get admitted at the schools and colleges in his locality. Only if the seats are completely filled up, then they can move to an adjacent area upon getting clearance certificate from the school authorities of their own community. It helps in three ways–the children’s and parent’s time is not wasted, the children can reach the schools by themselves by foot contributing to a better health and the children remains mentally fresh as they get sufficient time for entertainment. This system is both physically and psychologically soothing for the citizens and also reduces the chance of traffic jam to a great extent.

Moving from one city to another for good treatment is unbelievable in any developed countries. Only for special cases, the citizens there make that kind of move. That is actually the result of planning for a self-sufficient community which is actually a major sign of a developed country.

Our government needs to take some drastic steps in ensuring basic rights services inside the community. Good schools must be built at every union and good colleges must exist in every upazila of Bangladesh. In cities every ward must have at least five good schools and two good colleges. These schools and colleges must have good teachers and good educational facilities. Renowned schools and colleges must have multiple branches in different locations of the cities. The focus should be providing quality education to all the children of particular communities. The student must take education at least till SSC in their respective community. 

At least one large hospital with every possible medical facility should be built for each ward. Every upazila, if not union should has actually good hospital with good doctors dedicated for the welfare of the people. Facilities for the doctors in the rural areas must be ensured so that they remain satisfied to stay there. People should not take long journey for attaining emergency or any other medical services from now on. All the citizens of Bangladesh must have the similar facility.

We are truly developing from different angles but now we need to think beyond the box if we are willing to realize the dreams of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He always focused on the development of the general people and that is exactly what should be the priority. If we cannot ensure basic rights of our citizens with convenience despite our huge development, we cannot progress far with psychologically and physically challenged future generations. Hence, we hope the authority will ensure basic rights services at doors which will as a bonus will improve the intolerable traffic condition of Dhaka and other cities.

The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)

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