RAJUK: Focus on development activities and ongoing projects

Major Engr. Shamsuddin Ahmed Chowdhury (Retd Member (Development), RAJUK

The Rajdhani Unnyan Kartripakkh (RAJUK) is a statutory public organization, established in 1956 as Dacca Improvement Trust (DIT) by the Town Improvement Act 1953 (TI Act 1953) with special power for the development, improvement and expansion of the capital city Dhaka, Narayangonj city and some other areas in the vicinity of the two cities. A 13 member board of trustees of the then DIT administered the organization towards the development challenges faced by the rapid urbanization of the city. It was renamed as Rajdhani Unnyan Kartripakkh (RAJUK) in the 30th of April, 1987.

After the reorganization of RAJUK with a larger area and assignments, major part of Savar, Gazipur, Narayangonj and Keraniganj upazilas came under the jurisdiction of RAJUK, aiming at planned development of the metropolis. RAJUK area was increased to 590 sq miles (1528 square kilometer) in 1987. The organization is headed by a Chairman and 5 members appointed by the government. The Chairman is the Chief Executive of the organization. All members of the Kartipakkha are full time officials with specific responsibilities within the framework of RAJUK. At least two meetings are held in every month chaired by the Chairman of RAJUK for major decision making. If needed, special meeting can be arranged at any time. The Kartipakkha (Chairman and five members) are empowered to take any decision regarding city’s development as per the TI Act 1953.
RAJUK is, however, responsible for preparation of plans (strategic/master plan) for the city region and ensure planned development of the city. The fast ever master plan for Dhaka was prepared in 1959, the second one in 1995 and the strategic plan for next twenty years is awaiting final approval. These plans guide the development control within RAJUK’s jurisdiction. It also undertakes many development projects time to time under improvement schemes.

Financially and administratively, the most extensive projects are: Banani, Gulshan and Baridhara Residential areas; development of Kawranbazar, Mohakhali and Postogola commercial area; development of Sonargoan hotel area; expansion of Motijheel commercial area; Uttara Model Town; Bijoy Sarani overpass; Kuril Flyover; Hatirjheel integrated development project and construction of several link roads. RAJUK has many ongoing projects as Purbachal New Town Project; Jhimil Residential project; Uttara 3rd Phase; Uttara Apartment Project; Gulshan-Banani-Baridhaara Lake Development Project, 100-Wide Canal Development Project along both sides of Kuril-Purbachal link road, etc.

The Member (Development) is working at his office.

The development wing of RAJUK plays a very important role in implementing development activities and projects. This wing under Member Development is one of the important sections of RAJUK. This section is primarily responsible for the implementation of development works and development projects of RAJUK as well as assignments from the government time to time. RAJUK also undertakes development projects under the provision of TI Act 1953 as Improvement Schemes. An officer equivalent to the rank of Joint Secretary of the government is the chief of the Development Wing as Member Development. The prime activities as well as responsibilities of this wing are:

1. Preparation of DPP/PDPP and detailed estimates for construction and development of works and projects.
2. Invitation of tenders and process of contracts.
3. Supervision of work of contractors and preparations of evaluation reports, procurement, operation and maintenance of transport for RAJUK.
4. Provide necessary infrastructures and utility facilities to RAJUK projects.
5. Develop necessary residential, commercial, industrial estate, shopping complex, road, fly-over-pass, park, lake as per Master Plan/DMDP/DAP.
6. Prepare project profiles (PP) and processes the same for approval by the government.
7. Carry out other schemes instructed and recommended by the government.

The development activities as well as ongoing projects the Development wing of RAJUK is implementing are categorically presented here in a nutshell.

Purbachal New Town Project: The project is located in the north-east of Dhaka zero point, about 30 km though khilkhet near International Air Port. The total area of this project is 6150 acres of which approximately 4500 acres are in Rupganj Upazila under Narayanganj district, approximately 1500 acres are in Kaligonj Upazila under Gazipur district and around 150 acres are in Dhaka district. The project consists of 30 sectors of which 23 sectors are situated in Rupganj Upazila and 7 sectors are in Kaliganj Upazila.

RAJUK initiated the project since 1995-96 to develop a new city in the northeast of Dhaka which is traversed by the river Balu at the West and Shitalakkhaya at the East. In the 1st phase land of Rupganj Upazila were acquired, digital land survery were conducted and project implementation has been started by land development works since 2002-03. The possession of land of Kaliganj Upazila of Gazipur district was taken in the year 2010. At present land development work, road and drain construction work, bridge construction work, river bank protection work and plot possession handover is going on at the project area.

Minister for Housing & Public Works Engr. Mosharraf Hossain, MP and Chairman of RAJUK Md. Abdur Rahman are inspecting project site of RAJUK. Member (Development) Major Engr. Shamsuddin Ahmed Chowdhury (Retd) is seen present among others.

Jhilmil Residential Project: To ensure housing for the growing number of middle class inhabitants of Dhaka city and ensure the south-western expansion of the metropolis, the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) developed a housing scheme in Keraniganj thana (police station) along the Dhaka-Mawa Highway. It was mainly designed for housing of growing middle income group.

The total area of this project is 381.19 acres. The project was approved on 24/05/1998 at an approved ECNEC meeting with a proposed budget of 13 crore 617 lakh taka. Considering the increase in the price of land, civil works and other factors the cost of the project increased which was placed at an inter-ministerial meeting on 09/12/2004 for consideration. The (amended) project was finally approved on 19/04/2005.

Uttara Residential Model Town (3rd Phase) Project: This project was designed to reduce the pressure of population of Dhaka to a great extent for developing the surrounding areas of Dhaka city in a planned way and establishing permanent residence for these vast populations. Considering the above facts, decision has been taken to establish Uttara Residential Model Town (3rd phase) project as a part of Uttara satellite town. So, solving housing crisis with environmental consideration and affordability is the main goal of the project.

Uttara Apartment Project: Dhaka Metropolitan City has now been turned into the busiest and densely populated city Large number of people reside permanently in Dhaka city for service, business and other purposes. The dwelling places required for these large numbers of people are very inadequate. As a result, the residential areas of Dhaka city are getting overcrowded day by day creating unhealthy environment and causing damage to the beauty of the city. All these are because of mainly unplanned urbanization.

Minister for Health & Family Welfare Mohammad Nasim, MP attends as chief guest in the discussion meeting and doa mahfil organized by RAJUK on the occasion of National Mourning Day on 15 August 2018. Member (Development) Major Engr. Shamsuddin Ahmed Chowdhury (Retd) is seen present among Chairman and other Members of RAJUK.

So, it is possible to reduce the pressure of population of Dhaka in a great extent by developing Flats/Apartments as a permanent resident. Focusing the need of housing for lower and middle income group of people, government has decided to establish planned housing by constructing multi-storied building. This Project has been accepted categorically by ECNEC under Uttara (3rd Phase) Project. It is the largest ever planned Apartment Project in the country having 214.44 acres of land at Uttara (3rd Phrase) Project, Sector-18, Uttara, Dhaka for Low and Middle income group of people.
Integrated Development of Hatirjheel Begunbari Khal Area: The low-lying areas form the eastern side of the Tongi-Diversion Road up to the Rampura Bridge on the Progati Sarani popularly known as Hatirjheel and part of Begunbari canal and its adjoining lowlands behind the Sonargaon Hotel carries drainage and retaining storm water from a large area of Dhaka city. This low land was not earlier planned for proper improvement and development and thus remains unprotected, which resulted illegal encroachments by a variety of entities including private development thereby endangering the critical hydrological function of storm water retention of the adjoining developed areas.

In 2004, RAJUK engaged BUET to carry out a preliminary study to assess the development potentials of the Hatirjheel area, given the existing critical drainage conditions of the area. The BUET study revealed that any development through land filling of Hatirjheel area would be detrimental and seriously hamper the drainage function of the area.

BUET’s preliminary study further suggested that the lowland of Hatirjheel area should be protected and the retention capacity should be enhanced in order to minimize the risks of flooding in the adjoining developed areas. The members of Civil society, Environmental activities and professionals also strongly voiced in favour of preserving this low lying area as a storm water retention basin and improve the environmental conditions of the water body addressing the issues of domestic and industrial water and beatify the area as a place for public recreation. All these were the basis of the project named as Integrated Development of Hatirjheel Begunbari Khal Area.

Gulshan-Banani-Baridhara Lake Development Project: Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) has initiated to implement ‘Gulshan-Banani-Baridhara Lake Development Project’ since July, 2010 to restore the water bodies around the Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara area. The DPP of the project was approved by the ECNEC on 06-07-2010 determining the project tenure from July, 2010 to June, 2016. Time has been extended further up to June, 2019.

Captain of Bangladesh Test Cricket National Team and all-rounder Sakib-Al-Hasan attentds in a programme of RAJUK. Chairman of RAJUK Md. Abdur Rahman and Member (Development) Major Engr. Shamsuddin Ahmed Chowdhury (Retd) are seen present among other officials of RAJUK.

Major Development Component of the Project: 15.53 km Lake Drive Road;9 nos. of Bridges; 2 nos. Grade Separated and Interchange with 5.38 km flyover; 14 km walk way; Boating facility with 4 boat station; 19.17 km bank protection and 10.50 km Storm drains (900 and 1200 mm diameter) for carrying storm water from land-side of proposed peripheral.

Overall Benefit of the project: Prevention of pollution, Improved environment, Permanent demarcation of lake, Reduction of traffic congestion, Facilitation of water transport, Development of social & recreational facilities.
Urban Resilience Project-RAJUK Part: To strengthen the capacity of GoB agencies, to efficiently and effectively respond to emergency events in Dhaka and Sylhet. The secondary objective is to improve quality of new construction in Dhaka and Sylhet.

And specific objectives are to conduct a vulnerability assessment of critical and essential facilities and lifelines; to support the Development of Risk-Sensitive Land Use Planning Practice in Dhaka; to create the Urban Resilience Unit (URU) within RAJUK for Disaster Risk Reduction activities mainstreaming; to establish an Electronic Construction permit system; to set up a Professional Accreditation Program for Engineers, Architects and Planners; and to improve Building Code enforcement within RAJUK jurisdiction.

The project cost is total Tk 429,90.00 lak; of which GoB Tk 21,80.00 lak; PA Tk 408,10.00 lak; IDA loan US$ 53.00 million. Project period is five years; date of commencement July, 2015; and date of completion June, 2020.

RAJUK Green Building Project: After the establishment of DIT (Dacca Improvement Trust) in 1956 and the forming of RAJUK (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha) in 1987, its goal was to improve physical and urban condition as well as controlling the development and growth of the densely populated Dhaka city, which has become as one of the fastest growing cities with over 15 million people by this time.
The jurisdiction of the then DIT was relatively small and it was a corporate body having supreme planning and development controlling power. City was not as vast as it is now, and paid less attention to planning. After the liberation war in 1971, the Capital Development Authority of the government of the Bangladesh, had been emerged through the ongoing crisis of planned and controlled development of Dhaka City.

The Capital Development Authority of the government of Bangladesh has grown in manifold after the establishment as RAJUK in 1987. As the jurisdiction and area of Dhaka city multiplied through time, RAJUK has become the supreme authority for development control with enormous public dealings and huge workspace needs for its function. It is equipped with the manpower capacity of 1980 regular officials of different level. The present head office now located at Motijheel from the very beginning of the establishment of the Capital Development Authority in 1956.

MOU signing ceremony between RAJUK and Gulshan Society. President of Gulshan Society and Member (Development) of RAJUK are signing the documents. Member (Estate) of RAJUK is seen present among other officials of two organizations.

The present working space has become inadequate and needs a better and larger office space to maintain, control and planning for the peripherals of the Dhaka city. RAJUK has now decided to construct an environment friendly multistoried building on its Mohakhali compound, which will be known as the RAJUK Green Office Building.

10-Storied Residential Building Project in Gulshan: Gulshan Model Town is a very successful residential project of RAJUK. It is considered as the most valued and demanded residential area of the city. RAJUK decided to build a 10-storied apartment building on a vacant plot at Road 115. The project was approved by the Ministry of Housing & Public Works on the date of 18/12/2012.

The projects aims to provide residential flats to the middle to upper middle income group of people at an affordable price; to maintain the balance of environment by proper urbanization; to increase housing supply; to proper use of un-used/vacant residential plot at very valuable area of Dhaka; and to sell the proposed apartments to 27 nos. persons instead of allotting to a single one.

Flyover from Santinagar to Jhilmil (Dhaka-Mawa Road) Project: DTCA board has approved the proposed flyover project on 23/04/2017 and revised DPP has been sent to the MoHPW as per suggestion of Planning Commission on 12/09/2017. The implementing agency of the project is RAJUK, initiated by the Ministry of Housing & Public Works.

Project location is from Shantinagar to Dhaka Mawa Road (Jheelmil) with an area of 298.15 acres of land; length of project is 10.2 kilometer with 5 up and 5 down ramps and three toll plazas. Estimated cost is Tk 19,210 lac, of which VGF 30%, Debt 52.5% and Promoter’s Equity 17.5%. The project period is July/2016 – June/2020.

Conclusion
RAJUK is working hard to make the capital city Dhaka- a planned, livable and environmentally sustainable city. To fulfil the goal of achieving a planned city, RAJUK has taken initiative to make it livable through solving housing, transportation problems and creation of large scale water-based public space, open space like Hatirjheel integrated project.

Most of these development works of RAJUK are self-financed. But to achieve these goals of a planned city, RAJUK has to face a number of challenges. In future, RAJUK hopes to achieve its goal under the guidance and advice of the government and cooperation and active participation of the citizens of the capital city.