Perhaps even a blind man would even read what I am talking about here, similarly even a blind man cannot afford to miss the gigantic presence of the so claimed ‘biggest shopping mall of South Asia’, like the Taj Mahal is to India, the Great Wall to China, the Pyramids to Egypt, the TVCs were comparing it to a man made wonder for Bangladesh…lets give it up for..The Jamuna Future Park…no where else in the world…but in our very own Dhaka…the city of the 21st century, the megapolis of Asia…well…a bit of exaggerating in the last part, got understandably carried away. But Jamuna Group claims that the Jamuna Future Park (JFP) would be our ‘shob ghotonar thikana’…so who knows if it could be also claimed that that day is not far away when Dhaka would become ‘shob ghotonar thikana’ for the residents of Asia…like Singapore, Hong Kong, KL etc. The group claims in its website that “Jamuna Future Park will stand as a symbol of national pride, prestige, progress and economic development of our country as like as the Twin Tower in Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia.” Well, enough of blabbering…the harsh truth is, Dhaka is not anything closer to that yet, nor there seems any correlation between the setting up of the mammoth shopping mall and Dhaka’s becoming an iconic city in the region.
Remember the time when they used to call Dhaka the city of mosques, then they called it the city of rickshaws. Has the time now arrived to call Dhaka the city of shopping malls? Shopping malls which are stuffed with pretty much same products and bored vendors? Shopping malls which are crammed with not so many buyers but more happy wanderers? If we all are happy with it, or even some are happy with it, perhaps its worth it huh? But I doubt how many of the shops in the Bashundhara City are seeing profit and are very happy with the proceedings. Nevertheless, perhaps from the entertainment point of view, the city dwellers might get the chance to experiment with something new at JFP.
However, what aches me is the fact that a city which lacks even the basic infrastructures in terms of traffic management, sewerage, urbanization, green space, even parking lots, has started boasting itself to be hosting the largest shopping mall of the continent. Is it ironic, sarcastic, funny or is it natural? I know very little, and understand even less, so you tell me. I know this much when two big corporates like Bashundhara group and Jamuna group lock horns, they need to outplay each other by establishing flashy shopping malls in a crammed city such as Dhaka. Good for them.
Sometimes I hear people blaming the UK based Sylhetis, that even though they have so much money, they end up spending it in building lavish bungalows, mosques, community centers in the Sylhet region back in Bangladesh. They lament why they don’t invest their pound power in establishing schools, hospitals, roads and culverts. But in the same note, you could also argue why such big corporates of Bangladesh are investing crores and crores of taka in setting up dazzling shopping malls and why not in establishing business incubators, an IT park for the IT industry of Bangladesh or something which might look a bit more responsible? Well, probably the increased number of shopping malls indicates increased demand in middle class consumer power huh? Sometimes theories of economics are really tested in Bangladesh.