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ED: Don’t put all the focus on the capital

  • Published at 08:55 am July 13th, 2021
Shapla Matijheel Dhaka
Md. Manik/Dhaka Tribune

That way, not only Dhaka, but all of Bangladesh will become more liveable

Every year, droves of people from all over Bangladesh migrate to Dhaka in search of jobs, opportunities, and dreams. Even though many of them do find their footing in the capital, and are able to get accommodation, as the pandemic has shown, this arrangement is hardly sustainable.

When the going gets tough, which it does quite fast, given how expensive Dhaka can be, there is always a rush to go back home. Right now, with a struggling economy, and a hard lockdown in place, it is clear that for a large portion of the population, the desperation to go home is greater than before.

This trend of reverse migration, however, spells further doom and gloom for our economy. Most of our infrastructure is centralized within the capital, and for those going back to their village homes, the options in avenues of being productive are extremely limited. Yes, they will be with their near and dear ones, and being close to family means having some food of their plate, but the bigger picture for the Bangladesh economy is that we could see a backsliding in terms of our development timeline.

A large part of the problem here, as we have editorialized a number of times before, is that our jobs, opportunities, and development projects are concentrated in Dhaka, the capital. Dhaka is where the Metro Rail project is happening, Dhaka is where big business is, Dhaka is where the profitable deals take place.

Even industrialists based in Chittagong, our port city and what should be a thriving business hub, need to frequent Dhaka in order to keep their operations going. Our Dhaka-centrism is hurting us in more ways than one: An unsustainably large number of people are crowding the big city, not without reason, and our economy becomes vulnerable during times of out-migration.

This is a problem that has long needed solving. We need equitable development -- we need to spread out the job opportunities throughout the country. That way, not only Dhaka, but all of Bangladesh will become more liveable.