Bangladesh Slideshow

14 September, 2008

Facts of Life

Located smack bang in the middle of Bangladesh, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and my hometown, is not a city with whom it would be a ‘love at first sight’ affair. In fact, first impressions of Dhaka are usually negative. It is bursting at the seams with people. Nearly 13 million are living in 815 sq km - that’s a population density of almost 16,000 people per sq km, making Dhaka one of the most densely populated cities of the world, second only to Hong Kong! Rapid, and largely unplanned, urbanization has made it a very congested and polluted city, and our traffic jams are legendary. The city also suffers from a chronically high crime rate and frequent incidences of political violence.

But please don’t be discouraged and turn away, for then you will miss all the charms this city holds. Give it a chance, and it will grow on you, and one fine morning you will find it has won a place in your heart, by its cultural diversity, the sheer warmth of the people and the magic of the old town, to name a few.

Dhaka experiences a hot, wet and humid tropical climate. The city is within the monsoon climate zone, with an annual average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). Nearly 80 percent of the annual average rainfall of 73 inches occurs between May and September. An elevation of 4 meters (13 feet) leaves Dhaka susceptible to flooding during the monsoon season owing to heavy rainfall.

The commercial hub of Bangladesh, my hometown is a sprawling mega city with an annual growth rate of 7.6 percent. Many skilled workers are employed in the businesses and industries, while half the workforce is employed in household and unorganised labour. Rapid growth has occured in the finance, banking, manufacturing, telecommunications and services sectors, while tourism, hotels and restaurants continue as important elements of the Dhaka economy.

Cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws and buses are the main mode of transport for the inhabitants of the city. A variety of other vehicles also ply the street as public-transport, but their genre is near impossible to identify.

Dhaka has the largest number of schools, colleges and universities of any Bangladeshi city and consequently, the highest literacy rate in the country. Education is mainly offered in Bangla, but English is also commonly taught.

The Dhaka municipality was founded on August 1, 1864 and upgraded to Corporation status in 1978.The Dhaka City Corporation is a self-governing corporation which runs the affairs of the city.

Let me not bore you further but share a few more photos of the city.

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