Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) is moving ahead with a project to construct high-rise buildings to replace the small and dilapidated buildings in the old part of Dhaka.
Initiated in 2017, the ‘Urban Re-Development Project’ is finally going to be implemented, said sources in RAJUK.After the construction, the house or landowners will get their shares of flats as agreed with RAJUK.
Wide roads, sewerage drains and recreational parks will be constructed and trees planted under the project.
A RAJUK official said an estimated 1,100 people live in per acre area in Old Dhaka dotted with chemical warehouses, which may cause devastating accident any moment.
So the redevelopment with rearranging the existing spaces is the way out for the area, he added.
Under the project, RAJUK will construct buildings at its own costs while Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) will construct roads and parks, and Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) drainage systems.
The old part of Dhaka is mainly comprised of Postagola, Chawkbazar, Shankhari Bazar, Laxmibazar, Bangla Bazar, Sutrapur, Jaluanagar, Banianagar, Goalnagar, Tanti Bazar, Sutarnagar, Kamarnagar, Patuatuli, Armanitola, Sadarghat, Bangshal, Babu Bazar, Wari, Begum Bazar, Lalbagh, Hazaribagh, Kotwali, Dholaikhal and Gandaria.Most of the buildings in Old Dhaka were constructed on half or one and a half or two kathas of land. The rooms and flats of the houses are very cramped.
RAJUK’s urban planner Md Ashraful Islam told the daily sun that the capital development agency had selected three spots at Hazaribagh, Bangshal and Kamrangirchar to construct modern residential buildings under the project.
Around 100 acres of land were selected at Hazaribagh, 25 kathas of 91 families at Bangshal and 10 bighas at Kamrangirchar.
The process to select land in five to six more areas is underway, he said.
“We’ll hold a meeting soon in presence of the minister concerned, DSCC mayor and other relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Ashraful said RAJUK will carry out awareness-raising programmes to make people understand the importance of such project.
However, the project has received mix reactions from the residents of Old Dhaka. Many said the project will benefit them with the improvement of overall environment there, but many others differed.
Rubel, a private job holder and a resident at Shaheednagar in Lalbagh, said, “There are 10 lanes in Shaheednagar. Two vehicles cannot cross through nine lanes at a time. One vehicle has to wait to give side to another while vehicles except two-wheelers cannot move through Lane No 2.”
“If the project of RAJUK is implemented, it will be a blessing for the residents of Shaheednagar,” he said.
But Jony, a businessman at Kellarmore, said that they do not want to give their parental and grandparental properties to RAJUK for the Urban Re-Development Project implementation.
“We are happy how we are living now,” he argued.
DSCC Mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, who is working as a mediator of the project, said, “If the project is implemented, it will bring forth a good output. Such kind of project changed Singapore and Tokyo.”
Professor Hafiza Khatun, chairman of Geography and Environment Department at Dhaka University, who was a consultant of the project, said, “Once I was the resident of Old Dhaka. I have experienced all the difficulties the people of the area face every day. I think if the project is implemented, the face of Old Dhaka will change in a good way.”