Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust (WBB): World Car Free Football Tournament 2018 held at Manik Mia Avenue

Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust (WBB): World Car Free Football Tournament 2018 held at Manik Mia Avenue

Car free street event is celebrated on first Friday of each month at Manik Mia Avenue, Dhaka with joint collaboration of Government and non-government organization and support from Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP). On this event, traffic movement is regulated in a specific segment of Manik Mia Avenue and various recreational activities take place there. At present the eve of Football World Cup is going on. So the Car free street event of July 2018 focused on football in a different way. Organizers of car free street event organized World Car Free Football Tournament 2018 on 6th July 2018. Organizers selected 8 countries, having successful initiatives in car control, among 32 countries participating in Football World Cup 2018 at Russia. The countries were: Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal and Spain. Champion of the tournament was Bangladesh Institute of Planners (B.I.P) representing Germany and runners up was Hamim Sajdah Foundation representing Japan. Among other participants Government organizations including Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK), DTCA, DMP and others represented Portugal; Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust represented Argentina; MASTUL Foundation represented Brazil; Skating 71 represented England; Stamford University Bangladesh represented France and Works for Green Bangladesh represented Spain.

After the final match a brief discussion meeting was held and later the winners were rewarded with crests. Organizers of the event celebrated to make Dhaka more livable by controlling private cars and promoting public transportation, improving walking and cycling condition. Also they demanded to establish water network by reviving the canals surrounding Dhaka.

Dhaka has started celebrating Car Free Day since 2006. On 2016, the day started being celebrated with government and non-government joint collaboration. On Car Free Day 2017, Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Ministry, Mr Obaidul Qader MP announced that, Manik Mia Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Dhaka, will remain car free on first Friday of each month. On 10th November 2017, the announcement was materialized and Currently Dhaka is celebrating car free street event on first Friday of each month.

Traffic Police authority said that, we are not facing any major difficulty to materialize the Government order. Sometimes we face some problems because of examinations or VVIP protocol. We did not get any kinds of objection from people.

Transport related personnel said that, it will take time to discourage people to use cars. Though this initiative we are trying to persuade people that it is good to be without cars, because it gives us

opportunity to play and socialize. It is also important to restrict the trading, registration and usage of cars by specific and strong policy.

Moreover, the worst reality of Dhaka is that, the public transportation system is degrading gradually. So people are forced to consider private cars for their convenience. If we can improve our public transports, people will shift their focus from private cars.

The guests of the discussion meeting were Executive Director of DTCA Rakibur Rahman, Director of RAJUK Ashraful Islam, Project Director of CASE project and Deputy Secretary Anisur Rahman, former footballer and National Sports Award winner Abdul Gaffar, sports person Kamrun Nahar Dana, Director of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust Gaous Pearee, Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) Shahjahan Mridha Benu and many more.

Article by Naima Akter, Assistant Advocacy Officer, Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust
Photo Credits: Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust (CC)