A 12-member delegation headed by Mr. Hafizur Rahman Khan, President of IBFB called on Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, MP, Honorable Minister for Housing & Public Works on Wednesday 23 July 2014 and formally handed over the Keynote Paper on Well-planned Urbanization & Development: Involving Private Sector under Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The paper was written by Mr. Suhel Ahmed Chowdhury, former Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Public Works, Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Commerce which was presented in different events undertaken by IBFB on the issue of well-planned urbanization and development. In the process finalizing the paper, IBFB organized series of activities such as Stakeholders Meeting in May and thereafter a seminar held at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka on 10th of June 2014 where Honorable Minister for Housing & Public Works was present as the Chief Guest.
Appreciating IBFB’s initiatives on such an important issue, the Housing Minister briefed IBFB Delegation about the initiatives undertaken by the Govt. to tackle population explosion in the capital. He informed that more and more townships such as Purbachal, Jhilmil etc. will be developed around Dhaka and Chittagong where the private sector will play significant role in implementing such mega projects. Agreeing with IBFB’s proposal, the Minister told that the Govt. has plans to develop a new Bangladesh taking Singapore or Hong Kong as role model. He, however, mentioned that in order to ensure best utilization of scarce lands and accommodate more people into one area, only flat instead of plot will be given to individuals through RAJUK in future. The Minister assured IBFB Delegation that the Govt. will seriously consider IBFB suggestions laid out in the paper.
Among others, Mr. Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, Founding President, IBFB, Mr. M. Anis Ud Dowla, Member IBFB, Chairman, ACI Group of Companies, Ms. Lutfunnisa Saudia Khan, Director-IBFB, Director, Banglaphone, Mr. Md. Atiar Zaman, Director IBFB, Managing Director, Palal Group, Mr. Syed Mustafizur Rahman, Director IBFB, Managing Director, Novo Cargo Services Ltd., Mr. M.S. Siddiqui, Director IBFB, CEO, Bangla Chemical, Mr. ASM. Moinuddin Monem, Vice-Chairman, IBFB Industry Leadership Committee, Mr. A K Chowdhury, Chairman Industry Leadership Committee, IBFB, Engr. Md. Nurul Amin, Member IBFB, Country Director, Petro-Venture Associates etc. were also present in the meeting.
In order to reduce population explosion in the capital and other associated problems, IBFB pursued for well-planned urbanization for maximum utilization of scarce lands in the country. To do so, IBFB suggested the govt. for taking well-planned long term strategies segregated into various short-term and mid-term goals in urban planning and involve private sector under Public Private Partnership (PPP) for efficient and timely accomplishments of a project. Following ten key points to incorporate into such strategies were suggested in IBFB’s proposal paper:
- State of play in Present Dhaka. As it stands today Dhaka is an ill-planned or at best half planned capital city. It is the end product of multiple Stand-Alone projects since 1947 which have contributed towards a messy development of the country’s capital city;
- Picking up a Role-model for planned development of our capital. And we suggest Singapore City, neither Delhi nor KL or some other capital. Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world – only choice we have is either Singapore or Hong Kong;
- Development of new Satellite Townships around Dhaka. We propose more Satellite Towns adjacent to Purbachol and Sub-cities around and beyond Dhaka, in areas like Jamuna Parh ( beside Jamuna Access Road), Char Janajaat, Arhiol Beel area and so on;
- Area Development by the Private Sector. A chunk of land 200 acres or above, perhaps organized under Co-op Societies or Associations etc could be developed under strict guidelines formulated and supervised by the government agency Rajuk / DRA. Such areas could be incorporated / accommodated within a large developed area/satellite town.
- Re-development of old areas, half-planned/unplanned areas. Such mixed areas of the capital and other major cities like Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi etc could be re-developed as have been done in Singapore, Brussels, Jersey City, USA and elsewhere in the world;
- Development of entire Hatirjheel Area — North and South — including Tejgaon. To start with, the most promising area that could be re-developed is Hateerjheel and adjoining areas as the new City Centre and the Financial District of the Capital. We have none at the moment. And it can be done under PPP without a big government allocation. Next one to be taken up for re-development could be Tannery-free Hajaribag.
- Giving serious attention to very high population growth in the country since 1947 when population went up from 45m to 160m creating extra pressure on urbanization. More and more urban centers would have to be built under a well-planned urbanization programme.
- Creating a much more powerful and effective Rajuk. Present Rajuk must be totally restructured, perhaps in the line of DDA and renamed as DAMDA with a senior minister as the chairman of the board, a senior secretary as vice chairman and CEO and so on. The nation cannot afford to wait any further for a total restructuring of Rajuk. Only 35 percent work of Purbachol has been completed within the scheduled period. Policy makers ought to be very serious about cost over-runs, time over-runs and act without delay.
- Taking Climate Change Issues into serious consideration and consequent adaptive measures. CC is a serious matter, may be life and death question for us in the next 30 to hundred years. We must take adaptive measures sooner than later.
- And how Public Private Partnership can and would assist in such ventures. What would be the benefits if private sector were invited to participate with adequate finance, competent personnel and organizational set-up.