Alternative Employment for Rickshaw-Pullers

Topics: Dhaka, Rickshaw, Auto rickshaw Pages: 22 (7059 words) Published: September 30, 2010

Table of Contents

The Population Problem3
Economic Migration and the Plight of the Rickshaw-pullers3
The Growth of the “Rickshaw Culture”4
Rickshaw-pulling as the Preferred Choice of Profession4
An Employment Generation Case for Rickshaws5
A Humane Argument against Rickshaw-pulling5
Arguments for the Existence of Rickshaws in the City6
Recent News Concerning Bans on Rickshaws and the Importance of Our6 Research6
Ideas and insights from the interviews9
The Survey of Rickshaw-pullers15


The Population Problem

With a population size that is on the verge of crossing 13 million people, Dhaka ranks amongst the most populated mega cities in not only Asia, but also the world. Dhaka is also the capital of Bangladesh as well as its largest city and the primary center for business and finance in the country. However, with its very high population density, Dhaka faces a serious problem today in terms of maintaining and providing new infrastructure for its population, especially in the transportation sector, where the lack of adequate roads and means of transportation have recently led to the creation of severe traffic problems across the city.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, perhaps some of these problems are to be expected. However, we believe that this problem has been exacerbated over the years through increasing migration from other parts of the country to the capital for a number of reasons that we will explore further in our research. It has been seen however, that the majority of migrants from the villages who choose to migrate for economic reasons, end up as rickshaw-pullers upon their arrival in Dhaka, and thereby add to the number of vehicles plying Dhaka’s already congested streets. In fact, this phenomenon has become so prevalent over the years, that today the main form of transportation in this populous city is the Rickshaw, hence garnering for itself the name “The City of Rickshaws”. Our research will therefore attempt to take a closer look at the main causes and events that lead to this migration of the rickshaw pullers of Dhaka city as well as explore alternatives that may help reduce this form of economic migration or perhaps even lead to a reversal of the trend towards the villages as well in future.

Economic Migration and the Plight of the Rickshaw-pullers

Migration has been, and still is a major cause of over-population in Dhaka. The primary reason for migration is obvious – to find a way out of poverty and underemployment which is prevalent in most rural areas of Bangladesh. Interestingly, most of the male migrants who shift from rural areas to Dhaka city are seen to take on rickshaw pulling as their chosen profession.

It is true that the informal profession of rickshaw pulling may be responsible for helping many out of rural poverty, but it is also of growing concern that this same profession is also contributing to worsening traffic condition all over the city, besides accelerating the flow of rural immigrants. Besides this fact, it is also evident that in order to tackle the traffic situation in Dhaka city, rickshaws will eventually have to be banned or reduced from the roads. When this is done, rickshaw-pullers may find themselves unemployed. It may also be the case that due to their lack of skills and education they may become unemployable as well. Hence, the purpose of this research is to explore whether any alternative job prospects exist, to which rickshaw-pullers may switch to when that fateful time comes.


The Growth of the “Rickshaw Culture”

Rickshaws have become an integral part of Bangladeshi culture. Rickshaws were first introduced in Dhaka city in 1941, when there were only 37 rickshaws in the entire city. This number grew to 181 by...
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