Following an instruction from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has taken up various initiatives including the construction of new buildings after demolition of vulnerable buildings in Old Dhaka under a re-development project. The department concerned has also talked with Dhaka South City Corporation mayor Sayeed Khokon in that regard.
Housing and public works minister SM Rezaul Karim said this at a meet the press programme on “government and citizens role on construction building” at Dhaka Reporters Unity"s Sagor-Runi auditorium here yesterday.
“We have various plans to bring discipline in the city by ensuring a safe and environment friendly city as per the building code. It is not possible to make Old Dhaka totally risk-free at this moment. It is not even possible to ensure risk-free environment overnight by demolitions as the buildings in Old Dhaka are constructed without following rules,” Rezaul said.
The government has taken up the re-development project in Old Dhaka, the minister said, adding: “If there are three buildings on a five katha land, the government will construct a new environment friendly building after demolishing the old vulnerable buildings on the land as per the building code under the project. Flats will be allocated to the land owners as per ration.”
The minister hoped that the project"s implementation would help make Old Dhaka risk-free.
Asked if the landowners will agree to the government"s plan, Rezaul replied: “We believe that the landowners will understand the reality in Old Dhaka. If we able to motivate them through discussions for a better future and secure accommodation of their children, we are sure they will never disagree with the government"s plans.”
The landowners would surely value their lives more in terms of better accommodation than the traditional norm in Old Dhaka in terms of better accommodation, he added.
Rezaul said the reality was that an ambulance cannot enter Old Dhaka. “So, we have to make the old part of the city liveable. There is need to widen the roads so that ambulances and fire service vehicles can enter during an emergency. But it is not possible to widen the roads without demolishing the buildings,” he said.
Asked if he was facing any pressure on the matter, the minister replied: “I believe in only one pressure and that is from Almighty Allah. I am doing my job as per the decisions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The PM has given me a responsibility. I will do whatever she wants.”
New town areas like Purbachal, Jhilmil and Uttara extended third phase are being developed by keeping 45 per cent of open land, the minister said, adding that open spaces would help people to intake fresh air and children to play there. Rezaul also expressed his wonder on seeing two kinds of plans—one the approved plan for construction of buildings and the other working plan that introduced a new trend. He warned that such a trend won"t be tolerated and all irregularities will be removed to ensure that all the departments under his ministry were free of corruption.