DHAKA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The Bangladeshi government on Wednesday signed a 80.5 million U.S. dollars financing agreement with the World Bank to improve livability of four large neighborhoods in capital Dhaka city, benefitting about 1 million residents.
The "Dhaka City Neighborhood Upgrading Project" will enhance public spaces and urban services in four neighborhoods -- Kamrangir Char, Lalbagh, Sutrapur-Nayabazar-Gulistan, Khilgaon-Mugda-Bashabo --under the Dhaka South City Corporation, said the Washington-based lender.
The project will help upgrade public spaces such as parks, playgrounds, waterfronts; streets, sidewalks, and transform public buildings such as community centers into multipurpose facilities to serve communities, it said.
Zahid Hussain, acting World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, and Zahidul Haque, additional secretary of Economic Relations Division of Bangladesh, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides on Wednesday in Dhaka.
"With more than one-third of the country's urban population living in Dhaka, it is one of the world's most densely populated cities. Due to inadequate infrastructure, lack of public amenities and severe traffic congestion, the residents face many difficulties in their everyday lives," said the acting World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
"The project will address some of these challenges and help enhance the quality of civic life."
The four localities were selected through a series of consultations with multiple stakeholder groups. The project will help enhance green open spaces by improving selected parks, streets and waterfront areas. It will also pilot interventions for safe mobility and traffic management and incorporate environment-friendly features and energy efficient design principles and materials in all interventions that it will support, said the bank in a statement.
It said the project will cater to the differentiated needs of women and children, elderly and disabled. Women in Dhaka face challenges in terms of mobility, walkability and access to public infrastructure. 93 percent of women reportedly do not use public toilets and 42 percent perceive the city's parks to be unsafe. To improve personal safety and access for women and children, the project will ensure energy-efficient streetlighting, police posts, health clinics, and other integrated amenities.