The scenario is, regrettably, all too common: Dhaka’s roads get gridlocked every time there is a major political celebration, or an arrival of a VIP.
Yesterday was no different, with the capital coming to a halt as crippling traffic blocked up every major artery of the city.
The clear culprits behind the paralysing traffic were the thousands of activists and supporters of Bangladesh Chhatra League, who took to the streets in celebration of the organisation’s 69th anniversary.
There can be no excuse for the behaviour of the legions of people who took over the streets, abandoning all civic sense and consideration for others who were being inconvenienced in the process.
Celebration is all well and good, but it should not be a license to increase the suffering of residents of the city and hurt our economy.
No doubt, the traffic situation in Dhaka is one of the foremost reasons for Dhaka status as the one of the most unliveable major cities in the world.
Yesterday’s situation shows that the trend of taking mass celebrations to the streets clearly exacerbates this problem.
Our traffic problem is indeed solvable, but there must be political will -- something radical must change about our political culture, and this change must come from the government.
Bangladesh has experienced laudable economic growth in recent years, but our successes will mean nothing if traffic in the city continues to deteriorate at this rate.
The government must make it clear that bringing the city to a standstill is not allowed -- the price-tag of celebrating in such a fashion is simply too high.