Invest in cities to improve services to dwellers: speakers

26 Nov,2018


Public and private investment in city developments should be increased to ensure that the dwellers’ access to service gets better, said local government representatives and development planners at a workshop in Dhaka on Sunday. 

The workshop titled ‘promoting equitable economic growth in cities’ was jointly organised by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development, and Narayanganj and Sylhet City Corporations, and Cities Alliance. 
Sylhet mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury said his city was growing fast, but its capacity to provide services to people was not increasing accordingly.
For an instance, he said, the SCC now collects medical wastes from only 88 out of 145 hospitals in the city.
‘Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are dumped altogether as we lack the facility to get rid of hazardous medical wastes,’ said Arif.
Though mandatory by law, none of the hospitals, including private ones, have machines to incinerate medical waste, making it even more difficult for the city corporation to protect environment and public health from dangers of medical waste pollution, he said. 
‘Bureaucracy is another obstacle standing on the way of solving the problem,’ said Arif, referring to the huge amount of time it takes to get a solution implemented having it approved by bureaucrats.
BIGD executive director Imran Matin said the workshop was organised to propose an action plan through which investments could be made to improve standards of living in cities.
‘Lack of investment is the biggest challenge for secondary cities,’ he said.
‘We have come of an action plan to enable cities to face the challenge,’ said Imran.
The workshop proposed a project under which $3.2 lakh could be invested to equip SCC with the technology to treat medical waste from 2018-2019 fiscal.
The investment will return in nine years as the project will become sustainable by then, said Joydeb Biswas, assistant engineer of SCC, as he presented the keynote paper.
Another project was proposed for building a women’s complex in Narayanganj where female workers will get one stop service ranging from keeping their babies at day-care centres to launch her brand on national level.
The workshop was also attended by A2i programme e-service specialist Mohammad Ashraful Amin, Asia Cities Alliance regional adviser Ajay Suri, DFID lead technical adviser Anowarul Haq and BRAC urban development programme head Hasina Mushrofa.

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