There are innumerable wires hanging from electricity poles in almost every road of the capital. Power lines, cable TV, internet, telephones etc have become ubiquitous ruining the aesthetics of the city.
Last year, in a meeting with the Dhaka City Corporation Mayor, Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) and the Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) decided in October that the messy hanging wires in the capital would be removed as soon as possible.
However, after a whole year, the work of removing the wires has not seen significant development and continues working at very little pace. The initiative of placing the wires underground has not been implemented in most areas either.
Shoikot Alam, a private company employee in Mohakhali told Bangladesh Post that the city is hosting numerous development projects; however, such mess of wires everywhere is ruining the image.
“There is so much development happening in order to take the country forward. However, the densely tangled wire here and there fails the purpose of a country in course of development,” he said.
Where such unorganised carriers of electricity are in question, there is always a risk of mishaps leading to fatal accidents.
“Unplanned and uncoordinated expansion of the city often leads to various accidents due to hanging wires of various service agencies. There is always a risk of fire around these wires. There are many cases of explosions during heavy rainfall or even birds flying into these wires,” said Amir Ahmed, a resident of Khilgaon.
The two city corporations along with other concerned authorities have taken numerous steps to restore the city's beauty and get rid of the wired cobwebs. Meetings were held with representatives of the Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN), ISPAB and the COAB to discuss a planned underground relocation. However, no significant progress has been made in most of the areas.
Last year on August 5, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) started a campaign cutting the wires to rid the city of the mess. Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) followed in on the footsteps on October 1.
However, the ISPAB and COAB halted their services in retaliation. As a result, the leaders of the organizations soon held a meeting with the DSCC Mayor to resolve the problem.
MA Hakim, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), told Bangladesh Post, "We are working with NTTN to remove it. We have done a lot of work in the Dhaka North City Corporation area, especially in Uttara. However, we could not do much in the South City area.”
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He said that the infrastructure of Dhaka is unplanned and the wires have jumbled up simultaneously. There are currently six NTTN operators, which have been operating for 12 years. They have not yet finished removing the wires. Not much can be done in a year. It is not an easy task.
“The Covid-19 situation contributed to the delay. Dhaka needs several more years to fully remove the cable congestion. However, we have been able to do a lot of work in Uttara, Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara in a year. Also, the removal work in Dhanmondi area is nearing completion,” he said.
The two city corporations have considerably worked to resolve the issue, but the activities have slowed down as well due to lack of cooperation from other entities and obstacles like the pandemic.
Concerned DSCC officials said that they are constantly trying to solve the problem. Campaigns were undertaken to cut the cables after a certain period of time. However, concerned bodies were given some time to clear the mess. If they are unable to do so after a considerable amount of time, stricter measures will be taken.
Veteran city planner Iqbal Habib told Bangladesh Post that besides the ‘visual-pollution’, it is making the streets of Dhaka a city that is not walk-friendly.
“Both city corporations are working to make the footpaths and side roads a more convenient place for the city-dwellers. However, such footpaths are periodically interrupted by poles of wires. There are many initiatives for the blind people as well, but this could be a deadly obstacle for them,” he said.
With the pressure from the government, the initiative to remove such debris was undertaken seriously. Although many places have successfully put the wires underground, lack of cooperation between concerned bodies are delaying the other areas of the city.
City dwellers have expressed that everyone wants a city free of this mess and a restorations of the beauty of the capital. They no longer want to see these wires on the main roads, alleys or anywhere in their neighbourhood.