Bangladesh, it appears, has lost out on a golden opportunity to make Dhaka a better place to live. For the second year on the trot, the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked the Bangladesh capital as the second worst liveable city in the world.
Just two reasons can justify the ranking: Dhaka's population and traffic. Around 1.5 crore people are crammed into 300 sq km. and 400,000 cycle rickshaws clog the roads everyday.
"We have heard how Delhi developed for the Commonwealth Games. But there was no development in and around Dhaka for the World Cup. Only the stadiums were renovated, and some of the roads leading to the venues, the team hotel, and the airport got a fresh coat of paint," Babu Bhai, who has been staying in Old Dhaka for three decades, said.
“The lighting, beautification, everything is temporary. It's not like Dhaka will be a better city after hosting the World Cup.”
Ramanikanta Roy, one of the 15 cycle rickshaw pullers who were part of the opening ceremony, says: “I have come here from Dinajpur because I can earn up to Tk 300 (Rs 190) per day, after paying the owner.” Only Chittagong and Khulna, being port towns, have managed to generate employment.
It is not as if the government does not care. Huge banners welcoming cricket, at every corner and around Tk 330 crore (Rs 210 crore) spent by the state, are signs the country wants to project its cricket. But the people would have hoped for much more than cosmetic changes and lighting in the streets.