URBAN areas, including major cities, are experiencing an unplanned growth as development regulatory agencies cannot play their role efficiently in ensuring planned urbanisation. Urban planners at a seminar in Dhaka on Thursday, therefore, said that no urban development plan was completely implemented as successive governments have, sadly, lacked in their commitment. They complained that the government held back the implementation of urban plans, including the detailed area plan. This failure should be attributed to the agencies, including Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, being run by non-professionals. There should have been planners, architects and engineers in key positions of the development authorities to undertake and implement urbanisation plans properly; but what has compounded the problem is that most of the positions in these agencies are held by officials from the administration cadre on deputation. It is understandable that a project director having no technical know-how cannot monitor development works properly.
It is, therefore, no wonder that they have failed miserably to enforce the Private Housing Project Land Development Rule 2004, which states that a housing company must keep 30 per cent of its project land reserved for civic amenities such as road network, educational institutions, kitchen markets, shopping centres, health centres, community centres, parks and playgrounds. They have failed to make proper arrangements for car parking in the vicinity of major shopping malls; it is also for their lack of planning far-sightedness that traffic congestion still remains a problem. Most of the cities, including Dhaka, have turned into veritable jungles of concrete today. Dhaka city reels not only under the pressure of unplanned housing but also lacks other facilities and amenities that a capital should provide. Natural catchment areas of the city have been filled up to make room for buildings. This is why after every light shower during the rainy season, life in the capital comes to a halt. The minimum breathing space required for the people has been stamped out. As a result, the city has turned into an unliveable place.
As things are poised now, urban planning that emerged as a discipline just one or two decades ago still remains new and unexplored. It is also not known to many in the administration that to make and implement any plans for urbanisation will entail the help of town planners, architects and engineers who are experts in the field. While the government should give the responsibility to undertake newer plans, to bring the capital at par with other metropolises in the region, to professionals in the field, it also needs to take steps to fill in key positions in the development agencies with architects, urban planners and engineers to address the problems of dwellers of other cities and, thereby, bring about proper development.
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