Atiqul Islam, ruling Awami League-backed mayoral candidate for Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) by-polls, yesterday vowed to ensure sustainable and automated services for city dwellers, if elected.
He said he wants to complete unfinished tasks of late mayor Annisul Huq.
Atiqul said this at a dialogue titled, “Why do I want to be the mayor?” organised by Jatiya Press Club on its premises. Presided over by Saiful Islam, president of the press club, a number of journalists and editors participated in the discussion.
The DNCC mayoral post fell vacant following the death of Annisul Huq on November 30, 2017. On January 9 last year, the EC had declared the schedule of the DNCC by-polls and elections to the new wards, setting February 26 for voting.
The polls were not held as the High Court stayed the election schedule for six months. On January 16 this year, the HC cleared the way for holding the polls.
At yesterday's discussion, Atiqul said, “Dhaka is for all of us… we have to work together… we have to complete the late mayor's unfinished works… for a liveable Dhaka.”
It is high time to recover occupied playgrounds, rivers and canals for the sake of future generations, he said.
“The ongoing eviction drive [on Buriganga] is a signal. Not just eviction drives, we have to bring about a sustainable solution. We have to rehabilitate street vendors too,” he added.
Atiqul stressed on adopting automation services and modernising waste management system as well as continuing the fight against drugs.
Sukanta Gupta Alok of Desh TV asked Atiqul about his plan to complete the late mayor's works.
“I have prepared a plan. There could be multi-storey underground parking facilities, and utilisation of open spaces,” Atiqul said.
Sohrab Hossain, joint editor of Bangla daily Prothom Alo, spoke about the limited power of a mayor, obstacles from various development authorities as well as absence of BNP in the by-polls.
Atiqul said, “Bringing all the 54 authorities under a single umbrella is a challenge. I need your [media's] cooperation in this regard.”
Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta moderated the discussion, where Ajoy Dasgupta of Bangla daily Samakal, Khaled Mohiuddin of Independent TV, ZI Mamun of ATN Bangla, Pranab Saha of DBC News, Rahul Raha of Channel 24 and Press Club Joint Secretary Shahed Chowdhury were present among others.