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Institute of Governance StudiesBRAC University

STATE OF CITIES:Urban Governance inDhaka

STATE OF CITIES:Urban Governance inDhaka

STATE OF CITIES:Urban Governance inDhaka

Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University

Dhaka, BangladeshMay 2012

ISBN: 978-984-33-5288-0

Price BDT 500.00

USD 10.00

STATE OF CITIES:Urban Governance in Dhaka

Institute of Governance StudiesBRAC University

Report Team and ContributorsState of Cities: Urban Governance in Dhaka Report is managed by Rizwan Khair, Director, Institute of Governance Studies at BRAC University.

The Report has been produced by the IGS Research Team led by Ipshita Basu. The researchers who contributed to the making of the individual chapters in this report are as follows:

Chapter 1 Urban Governance in Dhaka: Ipshita Basu andAn Overview Kazi Nurmohammed Hossainul Haque

Chapter 2 A History of Governance in Dhaka City Rigan Chakma, Rubayet Hamidand Thomas Oldham

Chapter 3 Political Economy of Dhaka City Ipshita Basu

Chapter 4 Politics in Urban Governance: City Mohammad Sirajul Islam and without Citizens? Md. Harun-Or-Rashid

Chapter 5 Governing Transport in DhakaCity: Mahboob Elahi Akhter Stakeholders and Institutional and Elvira GranerArrangements

Chapter 6 Governance of Urban Services in Syeda Salina Aziz, Jannatul FardoshDhaka City and Mariha Khalid

Chapter 7 Conclusion and Next Steps Ipshita Basu

Research Advisers: Dr. Geoffrey Wood, Dr. Joseph Devine and Barrister Manzoor Hasan.

IGS team would also like to extend their gratitude to the following people for whose input and advice has greatly enhanced the report:

Dr. Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman, Dr. Nurul Amin, Dr. Iftekhar Iqbal, Dr. Jalal Alamgir (late), Dr. Ferdous Jahan, Dr. Simeen Mahmud, Dr. Rob Gallagher, Kishore Kumar Singh and Dr. Gopakumar K. Thampi.

Nevertheless, the authors take full responsibility for the views and opinions expressed in the report and any errors and omissions that may have been overlooked.

Cover Design, Layout : Amal Das | Production: Color Line, 01715 812345

Table of Contents








Chapter 1. Urban Governance in Dhaka: An Overview 01

1.1 The Purpose 01

1.2 The Context 01

1.3 Perspective and Method 05

1.4 Themes 07

1.5 Findings: What Do We Know About Urban Governance in Dhaka City? 09

1.6 Overview of Chapters 11

Chapter 2. A History of Governance in Dhaka City 13

2.1 Introduction 13

2.2 Mughal Dhaka 15

2.3 Early Decline 18

2.4 The British Commercio-Anarchic Era 19

2.5 The Second British Era 22

2.6 A Site for Political Contestation 1905-1947 25

2.7 The Pakistan Era 27

2.8 The Early Independence Years 29

2.9 Dhaka as We Know It 33

Chapter 3. Political Economy of Dhaka City 35

3.1 Dhaka: The Mega City of the Poor 36

3.2 Dhaka's Economy in the Global and National Context 39

3.3 Distribution of Urban Space and the Politics of Inequality of Access in Dhaka City 43

3.4 Crime and Violence and its Links with Governance in Dhaka City 47

3.5 Conclusion 48

Chapter 4. Politics in Urban Governance: City without Citizens? 49

4.1 Introduction 49

4.2 Organisation of Urban Governance in Dhaka City 49

4.3 Municipal Autonomy in Dhaka's Urban Administration 51

4.3.1 Operational Autonomy of DCC 53

4.3.2 Internal Autonomy of DCC 55

4.3.3 Financial Autonomy of DCC 56

4.4 Citizens' Representation and Democratic Urban Governance 58

4.5 The Criteria that Determine Urban Citizenship 60

4.5.1 Urban Property 60

4.5.2 Urban Aesthetics - an Example of Exclusion 60

4.6 Informal Governance in Dhaka City and Citizenship Practices 61

4.7 Concluding Remarks and Way Forward 63

Chapter 5. Governing Transport in Dhaka city: 65

5.1 Dhaka as an Economic Space - a Brief Introduction 66

5.2 Mobilising Dhaka's citizens - the Transport Sector 69

5.3 Stakeholders and Policies in the Transport (Sub-)Sectors 71

5.4 Changing Mobility as a Proxy for Social Change 77

5.5 Dhaka's Transport - Changing Utilisation Patterns 79

5.6 Rikshaw pulling- a mobile labour force 82

5.7 Safeguarding an Equitable Access to Transport - Some Recommendations 85

Chapter 6. Governance of Urban Services in Dhaka City 87

6.1 Electricity 89

6.1.1 DESCO: A History 90

6.1.2 Electricity: Not Simply a Supply-side Story 92

6.2 Water 95

6.2.1 DWASA: The Organisation and Its Constraints 95

6.2.2 Water and the Rules of Engagement 96

6.3 Waste Management 98

6.3.1 DCC: An Overview 98

6.3.2 A Private-Public Partnership: The Scenes behind SWM 98

6.4 Conclusion: Revisiting the Question of Exit Voice and Loyalty 102

6.5 Improving Service Delivery: Some Policy Recommendations 105

Chapter 7. Conclusion and Next Steps 109

7.1 The Contribution of the State of Cities: Urban Governance in Dhaka Report 109

7.2 Cross-cutting Findings and Governance Implications 111

7.3 Issues for Future Research 113

Bibliography 114

Stakeholders and Institutional Arrangements

List of Maps, Boxes & Tables


Map 1: Changing Pattern of Dhaka City 15

Map 2: Dhaka City Historical Settlement Plan 31

Map 3: Land Use in Dhaka City 32


Box 1: Definitions of Urban Governance 04

Box 2: BGMEA Bhaban: Political Charity and Court Action 55

Box 3: Policy Guidelines for the Strategic Transport Plan for Dhaka (2006) 73

Box 4: Case study of Rickshaw Puller (field survey, mid-August 2011) 77

Box 5: Rationale and Points of Convergence: Samajik Suvidha Sangam 106


Table 1: The Evolution of Dhaka City Corporation 23

Table 2: Dhaka Municipality: Budget Allocated for Service Provision 1865-1885 (in BDT) 25

Table 3: Comparison of Average Monthly Wages between Dhaka and Rural Areas in 2000 (in Taka) 37

Table 4: Population Growth in Bangladesh's Largest Cities 40

Table 5: Income of Dhaka City Corporation 57

Table 6: Political Affiliation of Ward Commissioners in the 1994 Elections 58



List of Figures

Figure 1: Population of Dhaka 1700-1965 16

Figure 2: Structure of Local Government in Dhaka 24

Figure 3: Population of Dhaka 1941-1981 29

Figure 4: EPZs in Bangladesh 41

Figure 5: Organisational Set-up and their Relationships in Dhaka City 51

Figure 6: Prominent Labour Markets for Poorer Households 68

Figure 7: Incomes 68

Figure 8: Mapping Stakeholders in the Transport Sector 75

Figure 9: Mapping Stakeholders within the Rickshaw Sub-sector 75

Figure 10: Registration of Motor Vehicles in Dhaka City (based on BBS and BRTA) 79

Figure 11: Changes in Modes of Transport 81

Figure 12: Modes of Transport for Different Income Groups 81

Figure 13: Incomes for Rickshaw Pullers 85

Figure 14: Functional Activities of the Power Sector 91

Figure 15: Commercial Operation of a DESA Office 92

Figure 16: Electricity Providers in Slums and Non-slums 93

Figure 17: Back-up Options Used by Non-slum Households during Power-cuts 94

Figure 18: Water Providers to Slums and Non-slums 97

Figure 19: Waste Collection Facilities in Slums and Non-slums 99

Figure 20: Solid Waste Stream in Dhaka city 101

Figure 21: The Social Framework of Exit, Voice and Loyalty 104

Figure 22: Short Route vs. Long Route to Accountability 105

List of AcronymsAL Awami League

BDT Bangladeshi Taka

BEIC British East India Company

BGMEA Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association

BIWTA Bangladesh Inter Water Traffic Agency

BNP Bangladesh Nationalist Party

BPDB Bangladesh Power Development Board

BRTA Bangladesh Road and Transport Authority

BRTC Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation

BTTB Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board

CBC Community Based Committee

CEO Chief Executive Officer

CNG Compressed Natural Gas

COBA Cost Benefit Analysis

CPD Center for Policy Dialogue

CRC Citizen Report Card

CUS Centre for Urban Studies

DAMERA Dhaka Metropolitan Regional Authority

DAP Detailed Area Plan

DCC Dhaka City Corporation

DESA Dhaka Electric Supply Authority

DESCO Dhaka Electric Supply Company

DHUTS Dhaka's Urban Transport Network Development Study

DIT Dhaka Improvement Trust

DMDP Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan

DMP Dhaka Metropolitan Police

DPDC Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited

DSK Dushtha Shasthya Kendra

DTCB Dhaka Transport Coordination Board

DUTP Dhaka Urban Transport Project

DWASA Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority

EC Election Commission

ECNEC Executive Committee of the National Economic Council

EPB Export Promotion Bureau

EPWAPDA East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority

EPZ Export Processing Zone


EU European Union

GDP Gross Domestic Product

IDS Institute of Development Studies

IGS Institute of Governance Studies

IPS Independent Power Supply