Well-planned urbanization stressed in city seminar

Housing Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, MP said, well-planned urbanization is always a priority issue for the ruling govt. Taking huge population growth over the last couples of years in capital Dhaka and other important cities like Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet etc. into serious consideration, the Govt. is planning to gradually establish more satellite towns like Purbachal, Jhilmil in and around Dhaka and other metropolitan cities.

image002Engr. Mosharraf also stated that keeping scarcity of lands in mind, the Govt. is planning to allocate apartments instead of plots to the Govt. employees in future so that best utilization of lands can be ensured. Engineer Mosharraf Hossain was addressing as the Chief Guest in a Seminar titled “Well-planned Urbanization & Development: Involving Private Sector under Public Private Partnership (PPP)” held on Tuesday, 10th June 2014 at Hotel Sonargaon, Dhaka. International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) organized the Seminar. Mr. Hafizur Rahman Khan, President, IBFB and Chairman, Runner Group of Companies presided over the seminar where Mr. Suhel Ahmed Chowdhury, former Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Public Works, Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Commerce presented the Keynote Paper.

The purpose of the seminar was to pursue 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 as to reduce population explosion in the capital and thus reduce other associated problems. The Keynote Speaker Mr. Suhel Ahmed Chowdhury suggested following ten key points to incorporate into such strategies:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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.
  5. 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;
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. And how Public Private Partnership can and would assist in such ventures. What would be the benefits if private sector is invited to participate with adequate finance, competent personnel and organizational set-up.

The seminar was attended by both the public and private sector stakeholders involved in housing, real estate and land development sector. Apart from Chairman Mr. G.M. Jainal Abedin Bhuiya, the high officials from RAJUK such as Mr. Sk. Abdul Mannan, Member, Planning, Mr. Naim Ahmed Khan, Member, Development, Mr. Md. Emdadul Islam, Chief Engineer, Mr. Bidhan Chandra Dhar

Chief Engineer, Project & Design, Engr. M. Saidur Rahman, Superintendent Engineer, Dr. Md. Humayun Kabir, Deputy Secretary, PPP Office under Prime Minister’s Office and dignitaries from other relevant Govt. agencies such as National Housing Authority, Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation, Rajshahi Development Authority (RDA) etc. were present in the seminar.

Amongst the private sector participants, Mr. M. A. Samad, Treasurer of Bangladesh Land Developers Association (BLDA), and REHAB Members and eminent real estate business leaders like Mr. Salim Akhter Khan, Chairman, Asset Development & Holdings Ltd, Engr. Md. Arifur Rahman, CEO, Assurance Developments Ltd, Mr. Nasimul Ghani, Chairman, United Group, Engr. Salah Uddin Ahmed, Amin Mohammad Lands Development Ltd, Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Runner Properties, Mr. Nazmul Haque Khan, Suvastu Development Ltd etc. were also present in the seminar. Among IBFB Directors and Members, Mr. Omar Shafayat Kausar, Vice President, Mr. Humayun Rashid, Vice President (Finance), Mr. Iqbal Hussaiyn, Director, Ms. Priti Chakraborty, Director, Mr. Ershad Hussain Rana, Mr. Anwar Shahid, Managing Director, Shimex International, Mr. AKM Badrul Alam, Director, Sajeeb Homes Ltd etc. were present in the seminar.