Govt making those legal

Illegal Housing Projects
Govt making those legal
The government has legalised two illegal private housing schemes and is going to okay at least four others to the destruction of natural wetlands and rural homesteads on the capital’s north-eastern fringe.
An inter-ministerial body led by the housing minister conditionally approved BDDL Natundhara and United City (Neptune Land Development) in early May following recommendations from Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk).
Other schemes awaiting partial approval soon are Bashundhara (East West Property Development), Ashiyan City and Swarnali Abashan.
All of these housing schemes are among the 77 projects declared illegal by the High Court in June last year.
The court had directed the government to take action against the schemes developed over the past decade by filling up low-lying wetlands, water bodies, rural homesteads and croplands.
A year before the HC directives, an expert body on Dhaka’s detailed area plan (DAP) recommended removal of BDDL Natundhara, Swarnali Abashan and United City, showing those to be on floodplains in Bhatara, Santarkul, Dumni and Sutibhola moujas.
In addition, two housing schemes — Aftabnagar of Eastern Housing and Green Model Town of Amin Mohammad Group — which were initiated years ago without the required permission are now in the pipeline for approval, official sources have said.
In November last year, the environment department fined Ashiyan for destroying wetlands, floodplains and local ecology through illegal earth-filling in Dakshinkhan mouja.
According to findings by the assistant commissioner (land) office, Ashiyan has filled up and changed the character of 230-acre low-lying wetlands, homesteads of the rural poor, and destroyed graveyards and cropland though the company owns only 43 acres.
A deputy director of Rajuk’s town planning section issued a notice in August last year asking Ashiyan Managing Director Nazrul Islam to stop illegal development of Ashiyan City and Ashiyan Shital Chhaya and their advertisements on television and newspapers.
An executive magistrate has found that Ashiyan has destroyed biodiversity and local ecology by filling up low-lying wetlands, including Ashkona-Kaola canal, croplands and rural homesteads, according to documents obtained by The Daily Star.
According to records, at least 33 affected locals have filed complaint with the environment department of Ashiyan’s earth-filling on their land.
Within Bashundhara housing area, there are 216-acre Court of Wards land and 18-acre Khas land, including river and canal, said Zanendra Nath Sarker, ADC (revenue) of Dhaka.
Also, a 44-decimal Court of Wards land and a 23-decimal Union Parishad land fall within Ashiyan City and a 20-decimal khas land within Swarnali Abashan.
Nurul Huda, chairman of Rajuk, said the organisation had made the recommendation, as the district administration, utility agencies and the environment department had given clearances.
Asked why they recommended approving illegal schemes, Huda said, “Bashundhara and some other schemes recently complied with the rules.”
“We cannot hold back approval after a developer obtains clearances from other agencies,” he said.
Sheikh Abdul Mannan, member (planning) of Rajuk board, said, “We initiated the approval process considering the sufferings of land owners under the unapproved housing schemes, as they cannot build structures.”
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said Rajuk cannot play the same role as any other agency and approve housing projects taken up illegally.
“It should have challenged the clearances of other agencies because the developers have destroyed the character of the land and its use.
“The stance the government had taken earlier contradicts what it is doing now,” she added.
Prof Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, who led the DAP expert committee, said such schemes were not legally permissible as long as DAP was in place.
Prof Sarwar Jahan, who teaches urban and regional planning at Buet, said the government should have widened and inter-linked all the natural canals, lakes and other water bodies before allowing the development of urban residential zone on the eastern fringe.
Since the developers embarked illegally on real-estate development by destroying natural wetlands and floodplains years back, he said, who is going to prevent it if they continue with such destruction?
Abu Hasan Mortuza, Rajuk town planner, said all the aspiring developers would soon get approval and flood flow zone would be excluded if there was any in the proposed projects.
Bashundhara has submitted a revised layout of a 1,435-acre first-phase scheme in Baridhara (A-L blocks). However, it owns 1,213 acres only, as per documents at Rajuk and the deputy commissioner’s office.
Ashiyan City has placed a layout covering a 43-acre area.
Swarnali Abashan has ownership on 75 acres of land of its 760-acre project area, according to DC office records, while BDDL Natundhara owns 173 acres of its 360-acre proposed area.
Rules say a housing scheme has to leave one-third of an approved area for open space and amenities.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

Related News

PM opens country’s first metro rail

News Desk : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has formally inaugurated the country’s first metro rail this morning. She opened a section of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6 by unveiling a plaque at the playground of Uttara sector- The PM’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana waved to the audience after the plaque was unveiled.

Bangladesh enters metro rail era

News Desk : Bangladesh’s commuting system entered a new era on Wednesday as prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the first ever metro rail service in the capital. She inaugurated the operation of the first phase of the project, Uttara to Agargaon, from Uttara sector-15 playground. Marking the occasion, the prime minister also unveiled a ... Read more

The WB will revive Dhaka’s rivers

$20b project plan News Desk : The World Bank will lead a $20 billion project to restore Dhaka’s five rivers. “We see the World Bank’s imprint in countries where it has large-scale operations. Bangladesh lacks World Bank signage. It’s hard to spot the World Bank here,” Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal recalled his conversation ... Read more

Bangladesh lifts ban on visiting tourists

World Tourism Day today News Desk : The government is set to withdraw embargo on the visit of foreign tourists to Bangladesh as the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 on Monday recommended doing so if the tourists can show their ‘full vaccine certificates’ on arrival. Civil aviation and tourism state minister Md Mahbub ... Read more

UNICEF Bangladesh Ambassador Mim visits children affected by the floods

News Desk : UNICEF National Ambassador for Bangladesh Bidya Sinha Mim is visiting Sylhet this week to meet children whose lives have been upended by floods that ravaged northeastern Bangladesh in May and June this year, according to a press release Thursday. The widespread flooding affected the lives of 7.2 million people, including 3.5 ... Read more

Bangladesh plans to hire 6,000 social workers to improve child protection services

News Desk : Bangladesh plans to hire 6,000 additional social workers to improve the effectiveness of the provision of child protection services at the local level. This hiring will increase the workforce from the current 3,000 social workers to 9,000, representing a 200% increase in the number of social workers. The statement was made ... Read more

SSC, HSC equivalent exams for 2023 will be held on all subjects

News Desk : The Secondary School Certificate, Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations will be held on all subjects and with full marks from 2023, said a circular issued on Sunday. Inter-Education Board Coordination Committee released a circular in this regard that was signed by its chief, professor Tapan Kumar Sarkar on Sunday. The ... Read more

SSC, equivalent exams begin today

News Desk : The Secondary School Certificate and its equivalent examinations for 2022 are going to start from today. Some 2,021,868 students are expected to take part in the examinations this year. Of them, 1,599,711 would participate in SSC, 2,68,495 in Dakhil, and 153,662 in vocational examinations. Some 3,790 centres were made available for ... Read more

International Literacy Day: Government now aims 100% literacy by 2030

News Desk : About 24.40 percent of adults aged 15 and over remain illiterate, although the ruling Awami League pledged in its 2008 election manifesto to end illiteracy by 2014. The goal of achieving universal literacy by 2014 was also set out in the National Education Policy 2010 created in 2009 by the AL-led ... Read more

Uber made BDT 45 billion in economic contributions to Bangladesh Last year: report

News Desk : Public First, a UK-based policy research firm, conducted the research and produced the Ubers 2021 Bangladesh Economic Impact Report, which was released today at a ceremony in the capital. The study shows how Uber is helping to transform the on-demand economy for users, driver partners and the general public by producing ... Read more

Tea workers return to work after 15 days

Many of them say Tk-50 hike inconsistent with current prices of essentials Mintu Deshwara After a 15-day work abstention, tea workers resumed work for a daily wage of Tk 170 yesterday morning. Majority of them expressed their dissatisfaction over the Tk 50 pay hike and said they resumed work as they had no alternative. “My ... Read more

Impact of climate change: 14.8 million people at danger of starvation by 2030

News Desk : According to the Global Food Policy Report-2022, 14.8 million people would be at danger of becoming hungry by 2030 as a result of climate change. The analysis, created by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) says, 11.3 million people would go hungry in 2030 if climate change had no effect. ... Read more

National Mourning Day today

The nation is set to observe National Mourning Day today. The government and numerous political, socio-economic and cultural organisations have chalked out programmes to mark the 47th martyrdom anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members. On this day in 1975, Bangabandhu was brutally assassinated by a group of ... Read more

Tea garden workers begin strike for wage hike

Zaman Monir Bangladesh Cha Shramik Union, an organisation of tea garden workers, went on a countrywide strike from Saturday for an indefinite period demanding a hike in their daily wages. Leaders and activists of the organisation’s Sylhet and Chattogram divisional units expressed their solidarity on Friday night with the organisation’s Moulvibazar unit that the daily ... Read more

Over 14,000 children die of drowning in Bangladesh annually: WHO, UNICEF

News Desk : In Bangladesh, more than 14,000 children drown each year, according to a joint media release from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Over 14,000 children in Bangladesh die from drowning each year, making it the second largest cause of mortality for children under the age of five in the country. The ... Read more

HC bans rooftop train journey

Action against rail officials if passengers travel on train roof News Desk : The Bangladesh Railway authorities were criticized by the High Court on Thursday (July 21, 2022) for poor administration of the railway services, including ticket scalping, and it was noted that no passenger is allowed to ride on the train roof. “If ... Read more

Nation celebrating Eid-ul-Azha

Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Muslims, is being celebrated across Bangladesh on Sunday with due solemnity, a sense of sacrifice and religious fervour amid the Covid outbreak for the second consecutive year.The celebrations began with Eid congregations all over the country followed by the sacrifice of cattle head in the name ... Read more

No motorcycle registration without driver’s license

News Desk : On Tuesday, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority said that starting on September 15, no registration number will be assigned to any motorcycle if the driver lacked a valid driving license.The order, issued by the authority, was given to inform people about it, said the BRTA director (engineering) Sitangshu Shekhar Biwas.Currently, the ... Read more

PM Hasina inaugurates Padma Bridge

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Padma Multipurpose Bridge on Saturday. The prime minister unveiled the inauguration plaque of the much-anticipated 6.15 kilometre Padma Bridge for vehicular movement at 11:58am at Mawa end. Speaking at the auspicious moment of inaugurating the bridge, an emotion-choked prime minister remembered Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the family members ... Read more

Physical work of Bangladesh’s First underground metro rail to begin in Sept

News Desk : Physical work on Bangladesh’s first underground metro rail, formerly known as Mass Rapid Transit Line-1, or MRT-1, will start within September this year. MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd, revealed the information at a press conference at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre in Dhaka, on Wednesday. He said ... Read more