CITY planning authorities Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha has readied a detailed area plan for the capital city, with a focus on the development from 2016 to 2035 after the previous one, focused on development from 2010 to 2015, expired. The plan, which the consultants are scheduled to hand over to Rajuk on Monday, will be put on the Rajuk web site in November to elicit public opinions and after two months and a public hearing, an official notification would, accordingly, be issued with necessary modifications, setting it into force. What remains a matter of concern is that the city authorities, which began the work in 2015, were supposed to complete the plan by March, but they have failed to deliver the plan in time. The current detailed area plan had also been mired in an inordinate delay during its planning stage. The initiative was taken in 1995 and the official notification could be made in 2010, 15 years after the project had begun, cutting down the duration of the plan to 10 years.
The current detailed are plan has largely not been implemented as it was subjected to a final review by a seven-member committee, which is reported to have made changes in the original plan, mostly seeming to be aberrations, allegedly under political and other pressure. The committee is said to have changed the plan to allow illegal housing and earth-filling by the government and private real estate companies in areas marked as wetland and farmland. More than 100 companies are reported to have developed land projects on flood plains, retention zones, river areas and agricultural land in and around the capital. The plan suggested the reclamation of flood flow zones and farm land, the relocation of 2,000 industries and the cancellation of 16 development projects. Nothing has so far been done. A member on the six-member committee that worked on the 2010-2015 plan says, as New Age reported, that what they recommended has not been implemented. Officials in Rajuk now say that the new plan has areas where housing projects have illegally been taken earmarked as ‘growth management zones’, which seems to be an effort to advantage certain groups of people at the cost of national interest. Urban planners believe that if the government had ensured area development keeping to the 2010-15 plan, many of the problems — the stagnation of water is one such problem — that city people now face would have already been resolved.
The expiry of the old plan rightly calls for a new plan, more comprehensive and more beneficial. But in the case at hand, many of the failures of the last plan that gave birth to flaws have all, with all the flaws, been incorporated into the latest plan that is yet to come into force. When one plan fails, another one based on the one that failed is likely to fail again unless the government has the required political will to attend to the issues. The government must work out plans for implementation, not for having just plans in place. The government must review and revise the 2015–35 plan, ignoring any individual interest, and implement it stringently.
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