Splitting DCC: Complex calculation may result into complication

Sazid Khan

Sazid Khan

DCC
With a view to providing better services and amenities Dhaka City Corporation has been proposed to be split into two parts- Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation. Local Government (City Corporation) (Amendment) Bill, 2011 was introduced at the national parliament last 23rd November to divide one of the most over populated cities of the world. Present government is trying to say that city corporation is in trouble to provide good services to one crore people by one body and it is facing problems to develop and maintain its infrastructures. Under the plan the North will be consisted of Uttara, Gulshan, Badda, Mohakhali, East Rampura, Tejgaon, Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Pallabi and Kafrul while Dhanmondi, Ramna, Motijheel, Sabujbagh, Demra, Khilgaon, Sutrapur, Kotwali and Lalbagh will make the South.

However, this proposal is being highly refuted by the civil societies and other experts of the country as they think it will create a deep complication. The main opposition party is also showing their apprehension to this issue as they are taking it as a blue print by the ruling party to keep the opposition party away from the scene. As the local government system of Bangladesh is problematic, the local government experts have been critical of the government’s decision as they pointed out that reforming the whole system can deliver here not by splitting the Dhaka City Corporation. Moreover the proposal is not economically viable which has been pointed out by the economists of the country. Conducting any kind of social cost benefit analysis we may get the clear picture that this will hamper the heritage, customs and creeds, cultural, social and political scenario of the city. This division will create a contrast in economic transactions, geographical distinction and many others communal idiosyncrasy.

The present government has taken a devastating decision of dividing the DCC into two. There is a lot of things to think about the city corporation but the government put this into a hap hazardous situation. We can find out our loop holes of the local government administrative system very easily. If we take the experiences of India and her different local government institutions we can simply get some good lessons to ease up our administration. Minimizing the corruption and introducing on-line system will reduce the administrative and compliance cost of the city corporation and will enhance its power to provide civic services to the city dwellers. Taking a sudden decision of splitting it without doing any kind of cost benefit analysis and public pole may make the equation even more complex.


21 Responses to “Splitting DCC: Complex calculation may result into complication”

  1. Sheikh Zia

    I am sure many people will participate in the debate. My first query is how are they going to address the “constitution” issue. Here what our constitution says :

    Article .5
    ” 5. The capital.
    (1) The capital of the Republic is Dhaka.
    (2.) The boundaries of the capital shall be determined by law.”

    Which Dhaka would be our capital ?

    There are whole lot of other issues as well. Splitting Dhaka leaves us with more questions than answers. Will be back with more.

  2. Sazid Khan

    I said in my note that the whole scenario is very complex. This proposal should be left in the open floor discussion and people’s opinion should be taken seriously.

  3. Khondkar A saleque

    I live in Melbourne ,Australia which has only 4 milllion population. It has several Cities and Mayors . Melbourne is the best city of the world to live. Dhaka has a population of 12-13 millions.It is among the most dirty and unsafe city. DCC is almost a non functional entity as far as providing basic amentities of life. Dhka has all round crisis . Gas, electricity, water supply , sanitation , garbage disposal, grid locks. There is no co-ordination among utility providers .People talked about metropolitan governance . But nothing happened.
    Dhaka air is again getting polluted .Law and order situation is getting deteriorated.Continued drainage of subsurface water is exposing Dhaka to earthqauke menace . Canals have died and rivers are dying. What role DCC played?
    If DCC is splitted into two people may get better services . But keeping the role of DCC as it is there may not be much improvement . Can we think of metropolitan governance? Can splitted DCC be the hub of all city activities – controlling agency of all infrastructure maintenance , operation and expansion ?
    I feel not two DCC should be splitted into 4 parts eventually East , West, South and North.

  4. Zaman

    Splitting the DCC won’t solve the problem. DCC is already infested with criminals and crooks. Have just spent three days trying to get my driving license renewed. But in vain.

    The PM talks about digital Bangladesh but common people are harassed like anything by the staff and their dalaals for bribes and chandas at BRTA. Local political thugs belonging to the ruling party have made a big business out of BRTA as in the past. The stupid communications minister should be fired for his incompetence. He hardly has any knowledge about any of the departments under the ministry. Some idiots like him are ruining AL’s any chance of coming to power in the next election. They are making issues out of nothing for the BNP-Jamaat axis of evil. The BRTA staff are deliberately sabotaging PM’s efforts to digitize Bangladesh which has already bore fruit in many other sectors.

    Khaleda Zia is openly courting the war criminals in all her rallies and have even put up thousands of posters asking for Golam Azam and Saidi’s release.
    If the war criminals come to power Bangladesh may become a rogue state like Pakistan or Somalia.

  5. Murad

    Why was Khoka allowed to stay as the mayor illegally first during the unconstitutional Moin u Ahmed regime and then three long years under an elected government. The LGRD ministry did a terrible job. It should have held elections within a year after the AL came to power. Awami League lacks solid strategists. Most of the decisions so far seem to be self destructive. Whoever is advising the AL is deliberately creating difficult circumstances for the party.

  6. Sheikh Zia

    @ Mr. Saleque, Australia has a very strong Local Government network. It’s mostly one tier local government. Most of the LGAs ( local government areas)are called cities. Yes, Melbourne has many cities ( read municipalities) but it’s not unique to Melbourne, whole of Victoria is scattered with cities, it has more cities than all of England. The thing is what works for Melbourne, Victoria or Australia may NOT work for us. We can’t compare the Melbourne with Dhaka. I have never lived in Victoria, but lived in New South Wales for some years and has some knowledge how Local Government works in Down Under. Aussie cities are not like cities we understand in Bangladesh. They even have city with a population of 5000 !!!! Borough may become a city just on the basis of their revenue ! We can try but I don’t think it’s going to work for us in Bangladesh.

    Yes, Melbourne has many Mayors but ONLY ONE LORD MAYOR. City of Melbourne and Melbourne Metropolitan Area are two different set up. We in Bangladesh are long long way from getting our Local Government working. Our challenge is to get our government abide by the constitution and run the local government as they are supposed to run. It’s sad that we are ruining them with our extremely partisan politics.

  7. Sheikh Zia

    This is what our constitution says :

    “59. Local Government
    (1) Local Government in every administrative unit of the Republic shall be entrusted to bodies, composed of persons elected in accordance with law.
    (2) Everybody such as is referred to in clause (1) shall, subject to this Constitution and any other law, perform within the appropriate administrative unit such functions as shall be prescribed by Act of Parliament, which may include functions relating to-
    a. Administration and the work of public officers;
    b. the maintenance of public order;
    c. the preparation and implementation of plans relating to public services and economic development.”

    There is no scope of appointing Administrator to replace Mayors in City corporations, even promulgating a law to this effect is will not make it valid. Parliament can’t enact a law contradicting and conflicting the constitution. If you read 59.(2).b & c closely it’s clearly indicative of a city government, which unfortunately none of our governments abided by, not even the government headed by Bangabandhu.

    “ Article 60. Powers of local government bodies
    For the purpose of giving full effect to the provisions of article 59 Parliament shall, by law, confer powers on the local government bodies referred to in that article, including power to impose taxes for local purposes, to prepare their budgets and to maintain funds. “ – It’s still a dream for our local governments.

    Splitting Dhaka is against AL’s Election Manifesto 2008 as well. This is what they said :

    “6. Local Government: Union, Upazilla and District Councils will be strengthened through decentralization of power. District
    Councils will be transformed into centres for implementation of programmes on education and health and all other
    development plans, and programmes, and for maintenance of law and order Every union will be made the headquarter
    for development and administration of the area and be developed as a planned rural township. And every Upazilla
    headquarter will be developed as an industrial growth centre and a planned township.
    The power and sphere of responsibility of City Corporation and municipalities will be enhanced; the standard and quality
    of civic facilities will be improved.” We all know where we have ended with Upazilla and better not talk about the standard and quality of city civic facilities. We are disappointed. The bill tabled to split Dhaka has nothing to do with enhancing powers of City Corporation. While CTG has beed dumped as it’s being unelected body, Govt feeling fine to dump elected body and handing over power ( even if it’s temporary, CTG was not permanent either ) to unelected Administrators !!!!!

    I am curiously waiting to see how our Supreme Court reacts to this splitting bill and act. We have seen them acting “ shopronodito” on many issues, let’s see if this evokes any sense in them.

  8. Javed

    The DCC is already split and the bill has been passed. At last the unconstitutional mayor has been relieved of his duties. Now two administrators will be appointed and elections held in 90 days to appoint two mayors of two divisions of Dhaka City Corp., not Dhaka city.

    DCC is a den of thieves and cheats. There is massive corruption in collection of holding tax in all the zones. Not less than half of the tax collected goes into the pockets of the collectors. Records are deliberately destroyed to deprive the government’s revenue dept of billions of dollars.The same happens n case of BRTA under the Communications ministry. Government`s efforts to digitize and computerize the entire process of vehicle registration and license delivery to expedite the processes are being hindered by employees within BRTA who make huge sums of money through collection of bribes and tolls through their appointed touts and agents. Last year one good thing happened where the government’s LGRD ministry made it compulsory for DCC’s holding tax be paid in public and private banks.

    The Gulshan area hardly has seen any cleaning efforts to clear the surface drains of knee high mud and dirt collection over the last 15-20 years. The roads include Feroza where the leader of the opposition resides. The sweepers are hardly seen on the roads although they are on DCC`s payroll. In that case sweepers should be appointed on daily contractual basis to make them work hard to earn their pay.

    I welcome the government`s effort to divide Dhaka into two alright but the decision has to deliver in just a year. This move is likely to meet stiff resistance from Khoka`s cadres from BNP and Jamaat whom he had appointed over the years to convert DCC into a mafia like organisation.

    The DCC under new mayors must make sure that it strives to achieve what it is supposed to do – to deliver speedy efficient public services to the city dwellers instead of subjecting them to harassment and unnecessary delay by thugs and corrupt officials as at BRTA. Staff at both DCC and BRTA should be rotated to different zones and branches on a yearly basis so that they get no scope to settle in a particular area to indulge in corrupt practices all their lives.

    The government should take this as a challenge. Sadek Hossain Khoka is already agitating the employees with help from Jamaat, BNP and so called civil if not uncivil society. The government must face them head on and if required ask the army to run DCC affairs in the interim period like the management of Chittagong port until honest dedicated elected mayors and members take over.

  9. Khondkar A saleque

    Mr Zia you have quoted consititution .Who prepares consititution and who approves it? Are they not all elected representatives of the people ? If Elected MPs pass a bill in the parliament following all rules and proceedures that can not be termed contradicting with constitution . Elected MPs are law makers. Yes all Australian Cities have Lord Mayor and each city has MPs . Yes Australia has three tiers of Government -Commonwealth, State and local Government. For better Governance why we should not try to follow a good system. Gradually Bangladesh can have 5-7 provinces like Australian states , a central government and strong local government.
    We find nothing wrong in splitting DCC into two .DCC due to unbriddled corruption and mismanagement became virtually non functional. It had very little achievement other than toll collection and muscling Khoka and allies. Let us see whether that tradition can be changed.
    Instead of creating controversies let us all suggest how DCC activities can be made dynamic and accountable.

  10. Salma Islam

    @Khondkar A saleque. It’s ridiculous to suggest that just because MPs have passed a bill it cannot be unconstitutional. Many laws have been struck down in the past because they violated the constitution. All laws (including black ones) are passed by MPs. That does not make it right.

    Moving away from the constitutional issue, two DCCs will double the amount of bureaucracy. If the government wanted to provide better service, it would have strengthened the wards and the 10 administrative zones Dhaka already had. Above all, if this bill was for the good of Dhaka, why did the government not allow any discussion on it? The way the bill splitting Dhaka was rushed through parliament ignoring the protests of Dhakaites and civil society shows that it was done out of political motives.

  11. Farid Ali

    Dhaka city has basically become unmanageable. The population of the city is exploding in geometric progression. There is no strategic long term planning.

    The new mayors of both the divisions of Dhaka should introduce IDs for Dhaka’s residents to keep track of migrating populations from other parts of the country.

    Communications and local government ministries need to recast solutions for Dhaka’s myriad problems in new light. Public transport should be multiplied several times. Import of private cars should be banned for at least three years.

    With e-Asia 2011 beginning tomorrow the government’s major thrust should be on digitizing DCC activities and putting everything online to make it transparent and free from the rampant corruption DCC is submerged in. Its a mystery how a corrupt mayor like Khoka could stay in power way beyond his tenure.

    We all have heard since our childhood how corrupt this organisation is. One of its mayor’s an ex-general has also been branded as the thief of Baghdad. The mayors become rich overnight and they groom cadres to monopolize all DCC contracts. THIS MUST STOP. e-GOVERNANCE is the best way to do it.

    The MPs unanimously passed the bill. The lawmakers are elected members to alleviate our sufferings. The divison has full constitutional backing. BNP while boycotting the parliament did not feel shame to use the parliament’s media center to voice their business-as-usual disagreement.

  12. Sheikh Zia

    @ Mr. Saleque

    “We find nothing wrong in splitting DCC into two .” – I agree, absolutely, even if it’s split in four. The question is whether the process followed to split was right or wrong. If constitution is of any value, we should abide by it. As I mentioned before, the constitution says “The capital of the Republic is Dhaka.” &
    “ Local Government in every administrative unit of the Republic shall be entrusted to bodies, composed of persons elected in accordance with law.” You need to understand what you said in your comment “If Elected MPs pass a bill in the parliament following all rules and procedures that can not be termed contradicting with constitution .” Yes, they have to pass the bill following all rules and procedures. As long as the existing articles of the constitution are valid , it needs to be followed. In support of your line, the correct process should have been to amend the constitution first and then enact the act following that article. Constitution is binding for law makers as well.

    Government is not the ONLY stakeholder of The City of Dhaka. There are many and probably most important of them are it’s people. Dhaka is not only a mega city, it’s our Capital too. Apart from all the technical issues, history and emotions are part of it. We expected public hearings and debates before taking such important decision of national / public interest. It’s not an unreasonable expectation from a democratic government. On the contrary, the govt just ignored the opinions of whole cross section of the people including it’s own alliance MPs and rammed in with the decision, it’s nothing short of but autocratic.

    I am not sure how splitting Dhaka will improve it’s terrible traffic woes. Population boom is not unique to Dhaka, many cities around the world faced it and “managing” it. DCC was to have 10 fully functional Zonal offices, suffice to say they never really took off, we didn’t even try it (Asked why the government was splitting the DCC instead of activating the ten DCC zonal offices, he said, ‘The people are not aware of the existence of these offices. Nanak, New Age.30.11) . This is where the problem is. Govt was not transparent at all about aim and goal of this split. We still don’t know how things will improve, what processes are being planned to take services to people’s door step. Nothing has been clarified so far. This hide and seek game gave rise to suspected political motive behind this decision.

    Yes, nothing wrong with the split provided it’s done following correct process , keeping the process transparent and communating well with stakeholders. If the government prefers to push constitution and democratic processes aside, rule of law will fall on it’s face, splitting Dhaka into even 20 pieces will not help.

  13. Khondkar A saleque

    I have noted the healthy debate here. Did we care so much about non perforamnce of DCC it in its orginal state ? Sanitation , grid locks, migration of rural poputaion into Dhaka , industries occupying resedential areas, killing of canals , rivers and waterways , poor utility services made Dhaka one of the worst cities for living in the world. Elected Government has created two DCC out of one with a promise to create more accounatbility and dynamism. DCC can do nothing until it is made a co-ordinating body of all utlity services and all organiaztions involved in planning, organizing and operating infrastrures providing civic amenities.Or in otherwards making DCC hub of everything [Metropolitan Governance].
    Can we say Dhaka still remains for Dhakaites ? Migrants from other districts have more than doubled its poputaion disproportionately . During Eid Festivals millions migrants leave Dhaka .
    If we really mean to turn Dhaka livable for current milleneum and beyond let us make suggestions how teo DCCs can be made dynamic , effective and meaningful. Street agitations to resist the action and arguing here will take us nowhere.

  14. Shafiqur Rahman Anu

    I fully agree with Engr. Sufi Vai.

    I also live and work, like Sufi Vai, in a country (New Zealand, since 1998) similar to Sufi Vai, where there are hundreds of ‘smaller’ size city council throughout the cities and countries

    I am also working with Local Government Offices for more than 20 years both in New Zealand and Oman. And I worked in a Federal Govt (PWD) office in Bangladesh.

    In New Zealand (one of the best democratic, truthful, peaceful, least corrupt country in the world) local government system are working very smoothly and effectively.

    In New Zealand most of the City Councils are ‘smaller’ size (Accept recently developed Auckland Council). This only (Super City or Mega Council) “Auckland Council” was formed in November, 1, 2010 by amalgamation of seven “smaller” size City Council & District Council and few regional council – mainly on political ground.

    Ironically, the concerned NZ LG (Local Government) Minister who had and initiated done this ‘evil’ act (Mr. Rodney Hide, of ACT Party, one of the most racist minister in NZ) is out from both Government and also from his party (he was President of his Party, ACT party).

    Modern Management system and concept (for better and smoother administrative system) is to “split and mange” it properly!

    It split the ‘complex’ matter to a ‘smaller size’ item for better management!

    E-mail is one of those examples.

    E-mails (content of) are also sent (so fast) following this principle (it split them in small bundles before sending to the recipient).

    “Sustha thakon, nirapade thakon ebong valo thakon”
    Shuvechhante,

    Engr. Shafiqur Rahman Anu
    Senior Network Engineer
    Haya Water
    Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

  15. Sharat Chandra Barman

    Any task which will be beneficial to the people, should be done….
    But taking the comments of intellectuals, people. Also It should hear patiently the opinion of opposition party.

  16. Sheikh Zia

    Narayanganj, Dec 1 (bdnews24.com) – Newly-elected mayor of Narayanganj City Corporation Selina Hayat Ivy on Thursday said she does not support the government’s decision to appoint administrators to Dhaka City Corporation, which has been bifurcated into separate entities.

    Ivy, who won the maiden mayoral polls to NCC on October 30 by defeating Awami League-backed candidate Shamim Osman by over 100,000 votes, assumed charge at Nagar Bhaban here on Thursday.

    The Narayanganj city unit Awami League vice-president also openly expressed her dissatisfaction over the way DCC mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka was made to leave office. She expressed sympathy for Khoka, a senior leader of opposition BNP………………………..

    After taking office, Ivy also talked about amendment of the Local Government Act: “Elected public representatives are sometimes not appreciated properly. Democracy is not being practiced in some arena. Appointing incumbent administrator in the city corporation is not acceptable since the caretaker government system has been annulled to hold elections under party government.”

    The former mayor of Narayanganj municipality, Ivy had to hand over the power to the administrator when the municipality was upgraded to city corporation.

    “The process of his (Khoka’s) leaving office isn’t proper,” Ivy said. “It is similar to my leaving the Nagar Bhaban on June 27. We are (both) public representatives elected by thousands of people, so there should be a process to hand over duty when we leave offices after completing our terms.”

    Greeted by thousands of supporters lined up on both sides of the road, Ivy reached Nagar Bhaban on foot, via Chashara intersection, around 12.20 pm to assume charge, having left her West Dewbhog home around 11 am.

  17. Bashar

    It is unfortunate that Jamaat-e-Islami and their ally BNP chose to observe agitation and hartaal in the Victory month December. Why hartaal again when Khaleda had said in public that she would prefer something else to anti-people hartaal. Why hartaal in December?

    Division of DCC is now a reality. Dhaka is unofficially a city of two crores. There’s no city in the world that is so crowded, polluted and run by a thoroughly corrupt inefficient administration like DCC. It is Dhaka’s interest the DCC is split to streamline its activities to make its operations more people-friendly and corruption free.

    Her romance with Jamaat and Pakistani army is well known. She shamelessly sent condolence on Janjua’s death. It is natural that Khaleda Zia is tormented psychologically in December as she feels the pain of separation from her ninth month long acquaintances from the Pakistani army at Dhaka cantonment in 1971.

  18. Sheikh Zia

    @ Mr. Saleque,

    “ Elected Government has created two DCC out of one with a promise to create more accountability and dynamism.” – That’s where we have a huge gap. Decision making process of an elected government should be a democratic one, transparent and of course accountable. We are still in the dark how splitting will enhance accountability and dynamism. City is about it’s people. We are the most important stakeholder of the process. As far as we know from what has been published, elected reps of local government and people in general were kept out of this decision making process. This tells us kind of accountability the government is promoting. I would say, the way it was done , was arrogant and autocratic.

    “DCC can do nothing until it is made a co-ordinating body of all utility services and all organizations…” – Splitting Dhaka will not solve coordination mess, it will only multiply to double fold. “Coordination is the process of thinking several activities to achieve a functioning whole.”Please remember the age old bangla proverb “ Adhik Sanyasi te gajon nosto “. Splitting Dhaka is not the answer, the answer is to decentralize it’s functions and responsibilities, keeping in mind that splitting and decentralizing are two different things. 10 DCC zonal offices were established so that city planning and service management functions can work together in coordination for the benefit of the city. The priority was to get these units run efficiently, on the contrary Nanak just rubbished Zonal offices saying that people do not know existence of them !

    Non-performance of DCC may be attributed to government interference in everything they(DCC) do. The fact is our local govt bodies including DCC were never empowered as per article 59.(2), (b) and (c) of our constitution, a clear violation of constitution by every government we had. DCC is not the only organization riddled with corruption. Do you really think splitting Dhaka will stamp out corruption ? If so , should we go ahead and split all our organizations and service providers ? Seems a stupid proposition , isn’t it ? I don’t see things improving while govt is hell bent to use local govt bodies as political tools. It’s unfortunate that we simply can’t come out of autocracy…….or should I say………Autocratic Democracy …….

  19. akhond

    Hello, Mr Engr Shafiqur Rahman.
    I know of one my friend who used to live in NewZealand, probably he knows you
    well, so far my memory goes, I think you used to live in Messey city of greater Auckland city, probably you also know Rana Chakma.

    I think first we have to understand that DCC is being divided, not the Dhaka
    city. DCC has about 12,200 employees carrying out various duties catering to the civic needs of the people. Now those 12000 employees will be divided into
    two divisions of DCC. To make this division full functional,they will need
    two set up of admimistration headed by some elected or selected people.

    But question , why it is being divided now? Was the proccess right?
    Did we go to the people before we planed it?
    Personally I have no problem dividing DCC for better services to people, but
    was it done in that line?
    No, it was done for purely political reason, BAL govt has lost in Chittagong
    city election, lost in Naraynganj, now if they held any election in undivided
    DCC, they perhaps could see a BNP person again in DCC’s mayoral post.

    I don’t think BAL govtled by Hasina did it for people’s service. If people
    service was so important, then they should have done it long before.

    It is also true that the present mayor(BNP) also made DCC very
    non functional, but you can’t blame him 100%. You can’t expect your right
    hand to be strong like Mohammada Ali while your whole body is sick.

    If people were so important then go to the people first, like start writing
    your proposal in newspapers, let poeple know what benefits are they going to get from it & what price they have to pay for it. Eletronic media is so handy now a days, why you didn’t they use it long before taking such
    politically sensitive issue?

  20. Reaz Khan

    I am very happy that the new DCC North office is in Gulshan. It was a nightmare for commuters from Uttara, Gulshan, Baridhara, Banani, Mirpur and Tejgaon to go to the old Nagar Bhaban in old Dhaka. People in north DCC will breathe a sigh of relief in getting their work done at the new north office.

    Workload will also become less for the two mayors of NORTH and SOUTH within their limit.

    I propose that both the Gulshan Circle 1 and 2 DCC markets be developed as DCC offices cum commercial buildings for DCC NORTH. This will even lessen the hassles of Dhaka city dwellers.

    People who are resisting the change are encouraging more corruption, inefficiency and incompetence at the old centralized DCC HQ at old Dhaka.

    The old Nagar Bhavan is pretty new and colossal to meet the needs of southern Dhaka inhabitants.

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