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However, experts do not think this decision is appropriate. They say it is essential to control the city's population density to make it livable. For this, determining the building height is regarded as an effective method worldwide. Due to the pressure of businesspersons from the real estate sector, RAJUK is moving away from that decision.

Business is more important than the livability of the city to the real estate businesspersons. It is them who opposed the proposal to control building height. RAJUK has bowed down to their pressure
Adil Muhammad Khan, general secretary, BIP

Adil Muhammad Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) and an urban planner, told Prothom Alo, “Business is more important than the livability of the city to the real estate businesspersons. It is them who opposed the proposal to control building height. RAJUK has bowed down to their pressure. They could not accomplish their plan to determine the building height. Now it is to be seen whether they can accomplish their plan to determine the population per acre or not.”

The work is underway to finalise the DAP through the project called 'Preparation of Detailed Area Plan (2016-2035) for DMDP Area'. The 20-year plan was scheduled to be finalised by June this year. However, the planning commission has approved a six-month extension (till December) for the project as it was not possible to place the proposal before the cabinet committee on time.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Md Ashraful Islam, the project director for developing the DAP and an urban planner of RAJUK, said, “We wanted to present the proposal to the cabinet committee before Eid. However, it was not possible due to the lockdown. This is an important document for the city of Dhaka. Therefore, decisions regarding this cannot be taken in virtual meetings.”

“This meeting would be held as soon as possible once the pandemic situation is over,” he added.

The way to control population density

RAJUK officials say if the proposal to control the population density per acre gets the approval, the design of the buildings would be approved on the basis of the maximum number of people could stay in a unit. However, the size of the unit would not be determined. For example, there are 20 units in one acre of area. These 20 units can be built in a 10 storey building or in a five storey building.

The project director did not want to disclose the proposed area-wise population density of Dhaka city before the cabinet's approval. However, BIP published a report on the population density of the city in October last year.

It said that according to international standards, a maximum number of people living per acre should be between 70 and 80. In special circumstances, that could be extended up to 120. However, in Dhaka city nearly 400 people live in each acre.

*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu

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