The Financial Express

Dhaka's environment to be jeopardised if draft DAP implemented: Experts

| Updated: November 25, 2020 18:55:40

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
File photo of Dhaka city. (Collected) File photo of Dhaka city. (Collected)

Implementation of the proposed Dhaka Metropolitan Detailed Area Plan (2016-2035) may impair Dhaka city by destroying its environment and broadening distance among social classes.

Experts on Tuesday said the proposed plan by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) will create more traffic, increase population density, wipe out water bodies and legalise illegal structures in Dhaka.

They made the observations at a press conference styled 'Dhaka Metropolitan Detailed Area Plan (DAP): Expectations and Achievements' hosted by the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) at its Agargaon headquarters.

Former IAB presidents Kazi Golam Nasir and Abu Sayeed M Ahmed, IAB vice-president Ehsan Khan, general secretary Nowajish Mahbub, and architects Farida Nilufar and Merina Tabassum addressed the programme.

Environmentalist Iqbal Habib moderated the event chaired by IAB president Jalal Ahmed.

IAB president cited many inconsistencies in the proposed DAP, especially in its planning process, contradictions with other laws, density zoning, road width, parking, affordable housing, preserving historical structures and governance.

He said DAP should be implemented as per the directives of the Town Improvement Act-1953, but it was neglected in the proposed plan.

Besides, the Dhaka Structure Plan 2016-2035 has not been effective yet, simply creating confusion in the planning process of Dhaka city's development.

Terming the proposed DAP contradictory with other city development-related laws, Mr Ahmed said the Dhaka Building Construction Rules-2008 was identified as averse to the proposed DAP which is not correct.

The proposed DAP has not clarified density zoning process of the city while distribution of population is crucial for quality utility services, he added.

The IAB chief said decentralisation is the key to reducing population density in the capital instead of controlling height of buildings.

There is no plan for flora and fauna in the proposed DAP while any hydrological model is also absent.

At the programme, Mr Nasir said the draft DAP has proposed exclusion of mandatory parking space in residential buildings which will encourage illegal parking in streets, thus increase congestion.

Occupying narrow streets of Dhaka in the name of parking will further weaken livability, he mentioned.

Dhaka will become immobile if the proposed DAP is executed, said Mr Habib, adding: "Policymakers should reconsider some proposals in the draft DAP to save the environment and water bodies."

Its implementation would significantly raise the possibility of flooding in the metropolis, lengthen waterlogging and decrease groundwater level, he opined.

"Dhaka may lose 70 per cent of its natural wetlands and floodplains may come down to only 17 per cent from existing 66 per cent for the new DAP."

The IAB suggested that Dhaka be made a city inclusive for women, children and persons with special abilities on the backdrop of rapid urbanisation, climate change and technology shifts.

Dhaka should also be a healthy city to make healthy future generations, it said.

The association of architects also exhorted the government to adopt effective strategies in order to tackle climate change and pandemic challenges.

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