74pc of development budget goes to Dhaka, 5 districts, 6pc to 25 districts

The housing and public works and the local government, rural development, cooperatives ministries play a pivotal role in the country’s urbanisation and only six districts including Dhaka, Chattogram and Gazipur were allocated 74 per cent of their development budget while 25 other districts received only 5.85 per cent.

Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) executive director professor Adil Mohammed Khan disclosed this at a virtual urban dialogue titled “Balanced and sustainable urbanisation of decentralisation of development in Bangladesh: Perspective and what to do” organised by IPD on Tuesday marking the World Urbanism Day.

Urban planners at the event spoke in favour of preventing the rush of Dhaka-centric investment and advised balanced investment across the country for the sake of a sustainable and planned urbanisation.

Adil Muhammad Khan spoke against such discrimination in the development budget. He said Dhaka-centric urbanisation is rising in the country while unplanned and haphazard urbanisation is taking place in other cities, districts, upazilas and municipalities, and that is destroying our development potential.

In this perspective, it is necessary to set required work strategies and plans to ensure sustainable urban planning in our city areas to accelerate the decentralisation of development.

IPD advisor and professor of urban and regional planning, Jahangirnagar University, Akter Mahmud, said the earth has the maximum capacity of accommodating a population of 9 to 10 billion. With a 100-billion rise over the last 11 years, world population will reach 8 billion on 15 November, he added.

People came to cities from villages mainly for three reasons, employment, better health services and education, he said urging the people concerned to create employment and provide better civic services in cities other than Dhaka.

Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology professor Muhammad Rashidul Hasan said 30 per cent of the country’s total population lives in five cities, and 58 per cent of people living in these five cities are in Dhaka, Chattogram, Rajshahi and Khulna cities.

There is no alternative to decentralisation in this situation, he said adding if 20 million become Dhaka-centric then pressure on Dhaka city will increase and the city loses it livability. He said decentralisation is possible through balanced investment across the country.

IPD director Chowdhury Md Zaber Sadeque emphasised formulation of a policy on decentralisation. He said decentralisation will not happen in a day it will take place in phases and the policy will state process and rate of decentralisation.

Narayanganj City Corporation urban planner Md Moinul Islam said his city struggles to provide citizen service because of additional pressure of population.

People tend to go to four big cities including Dhaka and Chattogram because of weak economic infrastructure, he said emphasising construction of economic infrastructure in small and medium-sized towns.

IPD director Mohamamd Ariful Islam delivered the welcome address at the urban dialogue. He said when urban facilities will be available in rural area and rural facilities will be available in cities, then things will be balanced and sustainable.