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‘Late’ Muhith vents anger over traffic jam

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith is upset over capital Dhaka’s traffic management after being late for a programme because of a traffic jam.

He was the chief guest at the inauguration of the two-day SME Financing Fair jointly organised by the Bangladesh Bank and SME Foundation at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel on Wednesday.

The programme was scheduled at 10am but was delayed because the minister arrived nearly an hour late.

Muhith apologised for not arriving on time and blamed the gridlock on Dhaka streets.

He said he had first gone to the house of educationist Prof Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, who died on the wee hours of Wednesday, to express his condolence to the bereaved family.

“Professor Zillur Rahman was my senior. I could not imagine not visiting the family after his death.”

But the real reason for the delay was the traffic system, he said. “Our traffic management is poor,” the peeved minister observed.

People of Dhaka daily suffer annoying traffic jams. But many say the problem has become acute over the past few days with the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) launching a drive against unfit vehicles.

They said officials flag down moving vehicles to check documents, causing bottlenecks and delays.

The finance minister said, “Traffic signals have been installed, but we don’t have the culture of obeying them. Then, what’s the point of having them?”

He said it would be understandable if a distance that could be covered in 30 minutes took 45 instead but would be unacceptable it took an hour and a half.

The roads are not the problem, he said, but their management.

Muhith apologised for speaking on an issue not directly related to the programme. “But I’m feeling very disturbed,” he added.

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