It is good news that the government is drawing up a 20-year plan from 2016 to 2035 for a “planned Dhaka city” after it failed to implement the current detailed area plan (DAP) in the face of opposition from realtors and influential people. At a consultation meeting organised by Rajuk for the revision of DAP, the officials of Rajuk, Water Development Board (WDB) and urban planners have raised their concerns over the destruction of water retention areas in and around the city.
Dhaka's waterlogging problem has worsened over the years due to the destruction of conservable flood plains, retention areas, rivers, canals, farmlands and rural homesteads in and around the city. According to an estimate by experts, over 100 realtors have illegally developed projects in these areas. What is shocking is that Rajuk itself has filled up a part of the low-lying area in the city's Goranchatbari to develop the third phase of Uttara Model Town. In addition, the higher authorities have taken away a major part of the water retention areas of Goranchatbari for the construction of Dhaka Elevated Expressway in order to rehabilitate the people who were displaced.
If the government is really serious about implementing the revised DAP, all concerned agencies ought to work in coordination. When reclaiming Dhaka's lost wetlands, opposition from the powerful realtors should be resisted strongly. Also, it must not forget to reclaim the water bodies that have been grabbed by various government departments. In order to make Dhaka liveable again, the capital's wetlands must be recovered and conserved at all cost.