Purbachal New Town project delayed due to 4 reasons including Covid

Aerial view of the Rajuk's Purbachal housing project.Courtesy

In accordance with the plan, the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (RAJUK) couldn't complete the Purbachal New Town project in 2010.

The project has been extended seven times till the date, citing four reasons behind the project's delay, including the Covid pandemic and legal constrains, according to RAJUK officials who now said they will complete the project by next year.

The largest residential project in the country’s history was started in 1995.

In the backdrop of repeated failure to complete the project timely, it has been extended by one and a half years from June 2022 to December 2024. But a section of RAJUK officials have expressed doubts whether the project will be finished within the new deadline at all.

Preferring not to be named, a RAJUK official said the deadline has been extended several times before (at least six times).

But the work could not be completed timely. There is still a lot of work to be done which is unlikely to be completed by 2024.

RAJUK's latest progress report on the Purbachal New Town reveals the reasons behind the slow progress.

The project was supposed to be completed in 2022 after the extensions for six times. The report claims, the work could not be completed within the stipulated time due to the Covid pandemic.

According to the report, general holidays were declared from March 2020 due to the global corona outbreak. The project could not be completed in June 2022 due to lack of manpower at that time and halt in work.

Another reason for the delay in the development work is said to be the initial 'misunderstanding' of the local residents or the affected people. Following this, they filed lawsuits against RAJUK exacerbating the law and order situation.

The total area of Purbachal New Town project is 6,227.36 acres encompassing areas in Khilkhet, Gazipur and Narayanganj districts of Dhaka. It has a total of 29,776 plots of different types (residential, commercial, administrative, institutional and others). Among them, there are more than 2,000 plots related to urban services with educational institutions. Again, some institutional plots are created by modifying the original master plan or design of the project. In connection with the matter, a lawsuit is under progress in the court.

The report also blamed the court case regarding allotment of institutional plots behind the delay in the project work. It has been said that there is a delay in the plot allotment process due to the prevailing lawsuits.

The final reason for the delay in the project mentioned in the report is the shifting of existing religious and educational institutions in the Purbachal area from one place to another. It has been said that local people have prevented the relocation of such institutions. The project has been delayed in the process of persuading them to shift these institutions.

RAJUK's chief engineer (Implementation) Ujjal Mallik told Prothom Alo that the entire area has been brought under electricity supply. The entire area will come under water supply system within the next year. Now the clients can build houses in Purbachal.

He said, the main work of the project will be completed by 2024 apart from the beautification. The deadline of the project will not be extended.

According to sources, RAJUK has been conducting various works including construction of 365 km road, 52 bridges, 43 km lake, protection of the banks of Shitalakshya river and Balu river, supply of water and electricity to the entire area in the project area. The organisation claimed that they have already finished construction of 315 km of road. The remaining part is under construction. Out of 52, 42 bridges have been finished. They constructed the main structure of the remaining bridges.

This correspondent found out that electricity supply has been arranged in almost the entire area of Purbachal. Work to provide water supply is underway. A number of new houses have been constructed as well.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat