The government has taken a U- turn on its decision to shut down schools, private universities, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and various commercial establishments illegally opened at Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara.
The government’s latest decision would allow each of them to stay where they are on payment of Tk one crore as fine.
On Tuesday, housing minister Mosharraf Hossain told New Age that commercial establishments opened illegally in the diplomatic and residential zones would be allowed to run their businesses having huge investments.
Another reason for letting them run their businesses, he said, was that they created employment.
A fine of Tk 50 lakh is realized for the legalization of any establishment opened in other areas of the capital illegally, he said.
He said that these establishments opened in clusters at Gulsha, Banani and Baridhara would be legalized.
But the establishments opened at isolated places of the three areas would be demolished, he said.
But all these establishments at Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara would be under close surveillance, said the housing minister.
To discourage opening of new establishments of these categories in these areas Tk four crore would be realized as fee before giving permission to each of them, he said.
He said that after receiving instructions Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha submitted to the housing ministry a list of 536 commercial establishments that were illegally opened at Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara.
He said that the instruction was given to Rajuk after the Holey Artisan Bakery at Gulshan came under terrorist attack in July.
The illegally opened establishments including 342 restaurants, 62 residential hotels, 16 bars, 56 schools, three colleges, 23 private universities and 50 hospitals and health centres, according to Rajuk’s list.
The list shows that 245 illegal establishments were located at Gulsha, 193 of them restaurants, 33 hotels and guest houses, 13 bars, 39 schools, two colleges, two private universities and 13 hospitals and medical colleges.
It shows that 235 illegal establishments were located at Banani, 139 of them restaurants, 21 hotels and guest houses, two bars, 16 schools, one college, 21 private universities and 35 hospitals.
At Baridhara, Rajuk found 24 illegal establishments, 10 of them restaurants, eight guest houses, a bar, a school two colleges and two hospitals.
Rajuk prepared no list of offices in these areas.
Mosharraf said a decision would be taken later whether any office, including those of political parties would be allowed to stay at Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara.
The government’s new decision to legalize the illegal opened establishments at Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara drew sharp protests from the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon.
The government has no right to change the character of residential areas, said BAPA secretary general Abdul Matin.
The government’s new decision clashes with the letter and spirit of the capital’s detailed area plan and the Master Plan, he said.
It also contradicts the decision taken by the cabinet in April to launch ‘coordinated drives’ against restaurants, bars, clinics, educational institutions and other establishments illegally opened in the capital and the rest of the country, said Matin.
Gulshan Society president and former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda reminded the government at several meetings it ‘promised to us’ that illegally opened establishments would be shut down.
He requested the government to stick to its decision.
The cabinet committee on law and order at a meeting chaired by industries minister Amir Hossain Amu in July took the decision to shut down all the establishments that were illegally opened in the diplomatic zones of the capital..
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