The history of Rajshahi is about a few thousand years old. But the city started to gain new momentum since 1947 when it got the status of divisional headquarters and the administrative works of Rajshahi division started here.
During the British rule, in 1825 the district town was switched over from Natore to Rajshahi and Rajshahi Munici-pality started functioning since the 1st of April 1876. But, Rajshahi Development Autho-rity (RDA) was established in 1976, 100 years after the establishment of Rajshahi Munici-pality, for the formulation and execution of plans and schemes for the development of Rajshahi town and its vicinity.
Though late, at the beginning, RDA determined an area of 127 square kilometres for its planning and implementing development schemes across the city. Currently, its jurisdiction is redetermined from 127 square kilometres to 364 square kilometres, covering the areas of Rajshahi City Corporation, Naohata and Katakhali Poura-sova and 12 other union parishads adjacent to the areas of Rajshahi city.
It is a matter of great regret that after long 8 years of its establishment, RDA prepared its first master plan for development of Rajshah city in 1984, covering the area of 127 square kilometres for a period of 10 years. But, the plan continued 10 years more until the next Rajshahi Metropolitan Develo-pment Plan 2004-2024 has been prepared and undertaken for the development of newly determined 364-square kilometre area. Though the first plan was not properly implemented, after 20 years this plan remains no use in fact.
However, in the present context of Bangladesh as well as of Rajshahi city, the second plan is, no doubt, a very good plan and a time-congenial plan, consisting a four-tier plan package with the Strategic Plan, the Structure Plan, the Functional Master Plan and the Detailed Area Development Plans.
The Strategic Plan lays out the strategic options for future development of Rajshahi city, to be consistent with the national development goals and strategies. The Structure Plan indicates the magnitude and direction of future growth of Rajshahi city and states recommendations for spatial and sector-wise policies. The Functional Master Plan is formulated to serve as a guide to development together with the control of land use of planning area. The Detailed Area Development Plans are a series of detailed spatial development plans of different types, which include participatory land readjustment plans, guided land development plans, infrastructure-led development plans and area improvement plans.
Though this plan is taken late, this is of course a potential master plan for planned and sustainable development of Rajshahi city. By this time, almost half of the period of 20-year plan has gone and only the half remains. The question is what RDA is doing about this master plan or how far RDA has been able to implement this huge master plan. Rather, the idea we got through the expert opinions, valuable articles, interview and SWOT analysis of RDA published in this issue is that RDA from the inception till to date is performing with only 105 manpower.
Not only this, even currently manpower and fund shortage, among the crisis of different other relevant factors and facilities, are the main problem of RDA, which need to be addressed soon to make RDA a well-organized and capable organization.
Accordingly, the present administration of RDA, especially to mention that its present Chairman Mohammad Abdus Samad along with his colleagues, is trying heart and soul to improve the overall condition of RDA to make the organization able to attain its goals expectedly.
It is learnt from the source of the Chairman that the present government is very keen for the development of Rajshahi city and RDA as well. And as per the guidance of the government, recently an additional number of 107 posts have been recommended by the Ministry of Public Administration for RDA. The Chairman believes that after the final approval of these posts and recruitment, RDA will get its strength to implement the projects and provide the services to the people of the city as per their demands.
It is observed that most of the government plans in our country fail to implement in full. Among many reasons behind failure, the number one is institutional incapability. To implement any plan in full, sufficient skilled manpower, fund, facilities and logistical supports are very essential. Almost all of our public organizations suffer these problems. RDA is one of those suffering organizations. Realizing this, we urge the government to give due attention to restrengthening the capacity of RDA so that it can be able to attain its goals in full and be a worthy partner with the commitment of the government to ensuring house for all by 2021.