Authorities must not compromise Dhaka’s quality of life
Dhaka’s performance in the Global Liveability Index, which ranks the world’s cities according to their state of liveability, remains surprisingly low. Dhaka was named the seventh least livable city in the Global Liveability Index 2022, released Thursday by the Economic Intelligence Unit. The index ranked Dhaka 166th out of 172 cities. Although Dhaka has moved up three notches from its previous position of the fourth least livable city in 2021, this does not suggest any improvement in Dhaka’s livability status as the city scored very low in all five indicators – stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Dhaka’s overall score is 39.2 out of 100 in the index. In 2019, when Dhaka was ranked the third least livable city, it also had a score of 39.2, suggesting there has been virtually no improvement. Among the five categories, Dhaka’s infrastructure score remains the worst, with just 26.8 points, while the city scored 55 in stability, 40.5 in culture and environment, 41.7 in education and a meager 29. .2 in health care. The index highlights the dismal state of infrastructure and health care, two important categories of livability, in Dhaka.
The infrastructure category is based on indicators such as the quality of the road network, public transport, water supply, telecommunications and international connections and the availability of quality housing, while health care is mainly based on the availability and quality of public and private health facilities. . Dhaka has failed miserably in providing safe infrastructure – transport safety, pedestrian friendliness of roads, disaster management capabilities and the like. For the people of Dhaka, it is therefore not surprising that the city scored a measly 26.8 in infrastructure. In health care, the city, which has failed to ensure access to safe and quality food, clean air and water, to maintain the required ratio of doctors and hospital beds hospitals per patient and to guarantee an effective and sustainable environmental policy, naturally obtained a low score. Dhaka’s scores on education, culture, environment and stability are also concerning, as the city has largely failed to ensure quality education and a safe environment. Also in the Safe Cities Index 2021, Dhaka was named the seventh most dangerous city. Unplanned development, lack of good governance, housing crisis, stagnant water supply, poor drainage and waste management and inadequate health facilities have, as city planners say, rendered squalid living conditions in Dhaka. All these failures show how the development model pursued by the government and the municipal authorities has brought the city to the edge of the abyss.
The government and the municipal authorities must, under the circumstances, take care of issues such as health care, education, culture and environment, infrastructure and stability to make the city livable. The rhetoric and narratives of development will not hide the harsh realities in which the people of Dhaka are immersed; rather, they will be felt as an insult unless the issues are not adequately addressed.