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What happens when prominent citizens get stuck in monstrous traffic tailbacks!
Special Feature (M Jahangir Alam):
Dhaka city's traffic jam is something that offers trivialities and sometimes tragedies, but what happens when important personalities are caught in terrible traffic jams.
Town Planner Prof Nazrul Islam was scheduled to attend a consultation meeting in New York on January 25 this year, but he failed to join it as he could not attend his scheduled visa interview earlier at the US Embassy in the city's Baridhara area due to a heavy traffic jam.
Talking about this bitter experience, Prof Nazrul said, "I started from my Dhanmondi Road-27 residence for the US Embassy in Baridhara before 8:00 am on January 11. I preferred to go to Baridhara through Sonargaon crossing, Hatirjheel-Marul Badda-Progoti Sharani road. Finally, I reached the embassy gate around 10:15 am. I was already 15 minutes late for the interview."
Prof Nazrul was not allowed to attend the visa interview and eventually could not attend the meeting in New York.
Renowned architect Iqbal Habib also expressed his bad experience of traffic jam as he failed to fly to Bangkok to attend an emergency meeting with a foreign consultant due to traffic jam.
Prof Dr Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Asia Pacific, said he was scheduled to attend a programme on the Victory Day at Bangabhaban in 2014. He set out from his Elephant Road residence for Bangabhaban but it took him huge time to reach Shahbagh crossing due to heavy traffic jam.
"Vehicular movement were so slow due to severe traffic congestion, I was to reach Bangabhaban by 4:00 pm, the last time for entry to Bangabhaban to attend the programme. Finally, I had to return to home," Prof Jamilur Reza added.
He remembered another moment when he almost missed an important meeting at the Secretariat on February 20, 2012.
"Malaysian government had sent Sami Valu, a Special Envoy for Infrastructure in South Asia, an envoy with a minister status, to Bangladesh to discuss financing of the then proposed Padma Bridge. I was scheduled to attend the meeting to share my opinion as an expert," he recalled.
"I started for the Secretariat from Buet but it took around two hours for me to reach there due to traffic jam. When I attended the meeting, the main discussion was already over," Prof Dr Jamilur Reza added.
Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said he failed to attend live talk shows in various channels in due time for severe traffic jam on various occasions.
"I've to attend live talk shows in various TV channels. Several times, I reached the TV stations after almost half of the duration of the talk show due to severe traffic jam," the DU VC said.
"So, when I receive invitations to attend any family or social programmes like wedding and other functions, I tell the invitees not to mind if I'm late due to traffic jam," he added.
A Dhaka dweller never knows when one riding a bus will be caught in a tailback for hours in the major roads or trapped on a rickshaw in a long queue to cross only a few metre of distance due to the mix of two vehicles taking turn from opposite direction at the crossing ahead.
The order of things in a traffic jam may look like just a recap of the last episode, though there are some less known stories of traffic maladies this UNB correspondent came to know from these prominent citizens.