RAJUK violates DAPTaib Ahmed
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, the capital development authority, has violated its own land use policy by allotting land earmarked in the Detailed Area Plan as ‘open space’ to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association to set up a university.
RAJUK is the regulatory authority expected to guard against illegal structural developments that would disrupt the environment and habitat of the sprawling metropolis.
Along with seven other universities, the government on March 13 gave BGMEA the permission to start a University of Fashion and Technology in Uttara with Dhaka University accounts and information department professor Syed Masud Hossain as its vice-chancellor.
‘The area where the BGMEA will set up the university has been designated as an open space in accordance with the DAP,’ an official of the planning department of RAJUK told New Age.
When contacted, RAJUK chairman Nurul Huda admitted this, but said that the responsibility to ‘implement’ the DAP lay with an inter-ministerial committee.
‘We had to approve the establishment of the university on an open space on a recommendation from an inter-ministerial committee that wanted it to be there,’ he added.
RAJUK chief said the city authority does not deal with this kind of ‘big issues’, pointing out that the inter-ministerial committee was formed to deal with these matters.
In June 2010, after a lot of campaigning by experts and green activists, the government finally issued the much expected gazette notification for the Detailed Area Plan for the capital.
With the formulation of the DAP, all the future development and construction, both public and private, should be in conformity with the DAP of the Master Plan for the city.
But within a week, the government gave into the pressure from different influential quarters and formed an inter-ministerial committee involving seven ministries for ‘smooth implementation’ of DAP, ostensibly to accommodate different pleas of the influential quarters.
According to DAP, nearly one per cent of the 590 square miles in the plan, which accounts for about 3,080 acres of land, should be preserved as open space.
About 33 per cent of the area should be kept for urban and rural residential and mixed purposes which is expected to house a total of 18.53 million people by 2015.
In addition, 32 per cent of the area has been preserved as flood flow zones, water retention or water bodies.
When contacted, BGMEA acting president Siddiqur Rahman said they would start constructing a building for the university from next month at Dhor in Uttara [near to Ashulia] as the university has got all necessary approval from RAJUK.
Primarily the university will be set up on an area of 5 bighas of land which the BGMEA purchased one and a half years back, said the BGMEA leader. The area of the proposed university would be further expanded later, he said.
Asked how they could secure approval for building the university from RAJUK since the area is earmarked as open space in the DAP, Siddiqur Rahman said, ‘You see, it is for the welfare of the country.’
The BGMEA acting president alleged that the RAJUK did not prepare the DAP in an appropriate manner.
‘The DAP was not prepared on the basis of field visits. Many areas where structures have already been built are earmarked as agricultural or flood flow zones in the DAP,’ he alleged.
Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan joint secretary Iqbal Habib, who was a member of the RAJUK-formed DAP review committee, told New Age that the incident has lent credibility to the widespread suspicion that RAJUK, which should be the custodian of wetlands and open spaces, in fact plays a role in their destruction.
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