Dhaka the capital city of Bangladesh, has gradually turned into a mega city with a current population size of 8.0 million (2004).Due to rapid urbanization and high rate of population growth through high birth rate and migration of large number of people from rural areas to Dhaka, Dhaka City’s already mammoth population body is getting bigger at a very rapid pace. Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) is responsible for providing some of the basic civic amenities to the residents of Dhaka City. Main responsibilities of DCC related to Urban Environmental Management can be grouped as follows: (i) Solid Waste Management (ii)Public Sanitatio(iii)Plantation(iv)Maintenance of surface drainage system.
However, due to lack of adequate resources, DCC has been struggling in its capability of rendering the above-mentioned services to the city dwellers. Keeping in mind the projected increase in population body and a concomitant pressure created by the added population body, it is obvious that DCC’s capability should immediately be augmented and equipped with modern tools. Proper utilization of ICT in DCC’s environmental management appears to be very much relevant.
As a first step towards introduction of ICT, a computer cell was established under Urban Planning Department in 1992, which later in 2002 was converted to IT department. Major objectives of formulation of IT department were networking the Nagar Bhaban (Head office of DCC) with zonal offices, creation and maintenance DCC web site and developing software according to the requirements of various departments.
In 1998, DCC introduced GIS through preparation of ward maps. Maps of 38 wards have so far been completed and maps of the remaining 52 wards will be completed soon. The ward map contains base map, road map, holding distribution map, various public facilities map( such as commissioners office, educational institute, govt. offices etc),waste management facilities map(such as location of dustbin and container etc).The maps prepared earlier by the Directorate of Land Records(a government department) have been used as source map for the preparation of above-mentioned GIS-based maps. The accompanying data used in those GIS-based maps have been taken from the field surveys
Recently a study team has started formulating a master plan on solid waste management in Dhaka city with active help from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The study team is now preparing several GIS maps incorporating the data on the collection, transportation and disposal of the overall solid waste management system of Dhaka city. In compliance with the recommendation of the ongoing master plan study team, DCC authority has already created a post of GIS specialist in its newly established Waste Management Division with hope of extensive use of GIS in solid waste management activities.
Under a World Bank project the networking of all DCC offices is near to completion.
In the year 2002, DCC has developed its own webpage. The objective of developing the web page was to make necessary information about the activities of various departments of DCC available to the residents of Dhaka city.
As a part of the appropriate human resource development for proper utilization of ICT, DCC authority arranges different domestic as well as foreign training programs for DCC personnel.
However, there is lot of stumbling blocks in the way of successfully incorporating ICT in DCC’s daily operations. In the following section, some recommendations are made for making ICT a more effective tool in DCC’s overall operation.
Most of the DCC personnel feel uneasy in using computer in their everyday work. So proper planning of training activities is important. Different incentives can be declared in order to recognize employees’ contribution in this sector. Minimum level of computer knowledge should be made mandatory for personnel during recruitment and promotion process.
It is important to maintain updated information in DCC web pages. Web page address of DCC should be well circulated to city dwellers. It is important to inform public representatives about DCC web pages and its main features. Most of our city people don’t understand English. Therefore, creating and maintaining local language version of DCC web pages is very important.
The remuneration DCC is offering to its IT professionals is not competitive when compared to private sector job market. The pay scale for IT personnel in DCC should be revised on a more realistic basis. Coordination among various departments of DCC is also very important for maintaining updated information about different activities of DCC and efficient utilization of DCC’s resources.
Another important issue is taking attempt to change attitude of DCC towards use of ICT in their daily activities. As computer has only been a recent introduction, many people, especially the people of older age group, feel more comfortable in the traditional ways of doing things without the use of computer. Therefore, careful efforts should be made to make this people aware of the benefits of ICT.