‘Building Bangladesh’

MDG- the Millennium Development Goal is Bangladesh’s long term objective to reduce Bangladesh’s poverty by half by the year 2015. 6 years is not that far away, however whether this goal can be reached or not, only time will tell. To make sure Bangladesh does stand equally in the world platform with its other East Asian counterparts, Bangladesh needs to improve its infrastructure, its education and have strict governance in reducing its corruption.  The river dominated, flood plains of Bangladesh make it difficult to build modern communication and transportation networks.  The government of Bangladesh in the past few eras also reduced much of its resources in building new infrastructure as well maintaining the existing ones.  Poor and inefficient infrastructure has always slowed down this country’s economic development. It’s only seen in recent times that the government has paid some attention to expanding railroads, highways, airports and seaports. With telecommunication revolution and the introduction of the internet, the telecom infrastructure has also been on the road to modernization.

 

US$1 billion Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge connected for the first time the eastern and western parts of Bangladesh and made an important contribution to the development of the country’s transportation network and significantly boosted the quality and speed of passenger and freight transportation. However more of such projects are needed.  Infrastructure improvements, particularly the Padma Bridge are necessary to spread growth to lagging regions. Despite the number of privately owned cars increasing, our roads are still as narrow as always. New link roads around Dhaka city have become a ‘must have.’ Simply building one over bridge in the name of a flyover over Mohakhali won’t cure the disease called traffic jams. The over bridge at Khilgaon also needs proper maintenance. The Bangladesh railway systems remains under the monopolistic control of the state despite privatization moves of some railway services, including ticket reservation and in-service catering. Its reputation did not improve as it is still notorious for its poor management and a long-established tradition of ticketless travel among the local population. Bangladesh has 3 major seaports, at Chittagong, Dhaka, and Mongla, and several smaller ports. The largest and most important port is Chittagong. There have been several plans backed by private investors to set up 2 modern container terminals (in Chittagong and in Dhaka), but these plans have met opposition from the labor unions. The new government should put some serious thoughts as to how to sort out these differences among the unions. Bangladesh is putting efforts into developing its aviation industry having 16 airports with paved run-ways, including 2 international airports (Chittagong and Dhaka); the largest being Zia International Airport at Dhaka. Bangladesh Biman Airline, the national air carrier, operates a fleet of about 15 aircraft, including 3 Airbus 310-300s, flying to 25 international destinations and serving several domestic routes. Biman is notable for poor customer service and disruptions to its flight schedule which is reflected in its Star ranking from Skytrax. The two stars ranking (out of five) indicates the poor standard of service provided by the airline which falls below the industry average. Biman was also labeled the worst performer for punctuality at Heathrow Airport, with flights delayed on average by three hours. So efficiency and effectiveness among the employees and the management is necessary in Biman, otherwise building new airports or buying new crafts is not going to solve the core problem within the organization.

Organizations such as ADB, UNDP and World Bank are already helping the Bangladesh government in many projects to improve the infrastructure. Natural calamities every year have always hindered some of the initiatives, however with regulatory support, minimum corruption and strict governance Bangladesh’s hopes of achieving double-digit economic growth and becoming a middle-income country by 2020 will not be an illusion.

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