POST TIME: 15 September, 2018 01:10:48 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 September, 2018 01:31:55 PM
Repeated RAJUK failures frustrate plot owners
property handover
Anisur Rahman Khan

Repeated RAJUK failures frustrate plot owners

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) has failed to hand over plots to the owners within the stipulated time despite extension of project periods several times. It is also alleged that the agency was helping some financially sound people to become richer by allotting plots despite having their flats and residences in Dhaka. Besides, RAJUK has also violated the law by filling up wetlands to develop several projects around the city, sources alleged.

On their part, RAJUK officials admitted to the facts, but expressed their helplessness due to various reasons. “The authorities have extended different projects due to reasons like court cases and the contractors’ failure to develop the lands as per agreement,” Abul Kalam Azad, RAJUK member (planning), told The Independent.

“It is taking more time to complete the RAJUK projects, and this has delayed the handing over of plots to the owners,” he admitted.

Azad said the failure of contactors was the major cause for the delay. “Most of the contractors submit their tenders without any feasibility study regarding the project, leading to delay in completion of the projects,” he added.

He said land-oriented projects were critical because of the need to acquire lands, develop roads, set up sewerage lines and utility services.

“It is true that some people are benefiting from RAJUK plots. Some rich people are even making money by selling their RAJUK plots,” Azad admitted.

“But the number of such beneficiaries is very small,” he said.

“Those who frame the laws and policies belong to the rich and influential class. So, we have learned a lesson and now review the process in terms of plot allocation,” the RAJUK member also said.

The authority should go for flat system instead of plot considering the land crisis in the country, he observed.

There were problems regarding housing in Dhaka due to increasing population, he said, adding that RAJUK was determined to implement its policy usefully by abiding with the rules and laws of the country.

On the filling of wetlands, Azad said: “There is both advantage and disadvantage as planning is a dynamic process. The wetlands are shifted if any such body is filled up during land development by RAJUK.”

The development agency has created many lakes in different project areas, Md. Rokon Ud-Doula, RAJUK member (admin & finance), said.

“We have created lakes on both sides of the 300-foot road and Uttara extended areas. So, RAJUK is always careful and concerned about maintaining ecological balance during its projects,” he added.  It is mentionable that vast stretches of wetlands were filled up during land development for RAJUK projects in Uttara, Jhilmil and Purbachal areas.

RAJUK had taken up the Jhilmil residential project in 1997 and it was scheduled to be completed by 2001. However, 17 years have passed and the project is still incomplete.

The development agency had estimated the Jhilmil project to cost Tk. 136 crore, but it now stands at Tk. 335 crore because the project period was extended several times.

Similarly, RAJUK had taken up the Purbachal residential project for 25,000 plots in 1995 and acquired around 6,000 acres of land for it.

However, only 58 per cent of the project work has been completed in the last 23 years. Now, RAJUK has set a target to complete it the project by June 2020. Moreover, the project was initially estimated to cost Tk. 3,311 crore, but the figure now stands now at Tk. 7,782 crore.

The Uttara extended residential project (third phase) was taken up in 1999 and set to be completed by June 2003. But the project is still incomplete after 21 years.

Despite the delay in completing the existing projects, RAJUK has taken up initiatives to develop four more residential projects—Srinagar in Munshiganj, Keraniganj, Dohar and the stretch between Amin Bazar and Shafipur in Gazipur.