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Rajuk wavers on executing large housing projects

Kamrun Nahar | September 20, 2018 12:00:00

The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkho (Rajuk) has not fared well as it has transgressed the bounds of its mandate in undertaking housing projects, experts said.

The Rajuk failed to deliver tangibly in implementing any of its big housing projects, they further said.

Project implementation periods were extended several times, increasing the costs to the detriment of clients, they elaborated.

The housing projects the Rajuk has undertaken include the Purbachal New Town Project which is the largest, Uttara Residential Model Town (3rd Phase) Project, Jhilmil Residential Project and Uttara Apartment Project.

The performance of Rajuk as a development regulator, controller and planning authority is very poor, they said.

Dhaka is losing its livability gradually which is unexpected as the Rajuk is busy with their commercial activities and other work, experts said.

The situation is almost similar in implementation of every project.

According to the Rajuk annual report for 2016-17, the Purbachal project was initiated in 1995-96 and approved in 2005.

Its revised development project proforma (RDPP) was approved in 2010.

Under the project the development work started in 2002-03 in 30 sectors covering 6,150 acres of land. The project cost leapt from Tk 33.11 billion (3,311 crore) to Tk 77.82 billion within the last 23 years.

The annual report shows that there are 25,000 residential plots, of which 15,000 have been handed over to their owners in sector nos. 01, 04, 05, 11, 13, 14 and 17. Handover of residential plots in sector nos. 09, 10, 29 and 30 is ongoing.

But nothing has been mentioned in the annual report about progress in work in the remaining 19 sectors.

The Jhilmil project was approved in 1998. It was planned to be implemented covering 381.19 acres of land at a cost of Tk 1.36 billion (136 crore). The project cost was revised twice.

In the first revision the cost stood at Tk 3.36 billion and in the second revision it fell to Tk 2.89 billion. Of the total 1,774 plots, 960 were handed over and work on 814 others was in progress, the annual report said.

Talking to the FE, Jhilmil project director Abdul Latif Helaly has claimed that all the 1,774 residential plots are ready. The water and power connections are also ready. But no gas connection is there. Any plot owner now can go for construction there.

The work in the second phase is going on and it includes construction of necessary offices, lake, mosques, playground, etc, he added.

Under the Uttara Apartment Project, 179 buildings, each sixteen-storied were supposed to be constructed comprising 15,036 flats. The duration was November 2011 to June 2016. However, the duration was extended up to June 2018 without any upward revision of cost.

Construction of 79 buildings comprising 6,636 flats in Block A was going on in full swing, the report said.

It also showed that 6,636 flats were supposed to be handed over by March 2018.

When asked about the tentative date for flat handover, project director Eng Anowar Hossain said that the work would be completed by September. By October or November, the handover of flats would start.

He said, out of a total of 79 sub-stations, the work on 35 was completed. He also claimed that work on the remaining sub-stations would end in the next one month.

"We have sold 4,800 flats out of 6,636 and handed over 550 keys. As many as 32 families live there," he claimed.

Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) general secretary Adil Mohammed Khan said Rajuk has no clear authority to undertake commercial housing projects deviating from its actual role of a regulator, controller and planner.

Also there is no scope in the context of Bangladesh to go for plot-based housing schemes, he added.

Unfortunately the city development authority is deploying much of its resources in these areas, making the city unlivable day by day, he commented.

Rajuk has negligence in planning and lacks efficiency in implementation of projects, which are ultimately affecting the state and the people, said Mr Adil.

"We have heard that the apartment cost of Uttara will go up further. The authority could not sell apartments as per expectation due to lack of confidence in Rajuk," said Mr Adil.

There must be a process to stop Rajuk from undertaking any such project in future, he suggested.

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