Administrative decentralization required to make Dhaka city liveable
igc bigd roundtable

Administrative decentralization is necessary to reduce pressure on Dhaka and make the city liveable. Many people will relocate from Dhaka if they get different facilities including good educational institutions, healthcare services and employment opportunity in other districts, said urban experts and economists in a roundtable.

The roundtable titled “Migration, Spatial Planning and Housing Pressure in Asia Mega Cities: Lessons for Dhaka” was jointly organized by International Growth Centre (IGC), A2I project under PMO and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University on July 20, 2017 at the city.

Fourty four percent of the country's formal employments are in greater Dhaka, which is only one percent of the country's territory. Thirty-six percent of the country's urban population also lives in Dhaka, said Prof. Tony Venables, CBE of the University of Oxford while presenting a keynote paper titled “Migration, Spatial Planning and Housing Pressure in Asia Mega Cities: Lessons for Dhaka”, at the round table.

In his lecture, Prof. Venables spoke on the most challenging urban issues in Bangladesh – land use, planning and its enforcement, 'livable' and affordable housing in the wake of a rising middle class, and the efficient supply and sustainable management of public services, especially utilities, associated with rapid migration. He said that Bangladesh experienced faster urbanization than South Asia as a whole between 2000 and 2010 and according to the prediction it will be 45 percent in 2030 and 55 percent in 2050.

Prof. Venables has offered evidence from his work on how coordinated public policy is essential in addressing interrelated constraints to affordable urban housing. Poor land administration policies are responsible behind urban housing being prohibitive for low-income groups.

Executive Director of BIGD and Country Director of IGC, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman moderated the round table in the presence of Hossain Zillur Rahman, former caretaker government adviser; Wahiduddin Mahmud, renowned economist; Professor Emeritus of BRAC University Dr. Ainun Nishat; Professor of geography and environment department of Dhaka University AQM Mahbub and other urban experts and economists.

Dr. Ainun Nishat said, preference should be given to the flood action plan for preparing urbanization plan in Bangladesh. Dhaka's drainage system is very vulnerable as we are still continuing the drainage system from the British period. It is necessary to upgrade the system.

Hossain Zillur Rahman said that the urban development plan of Dhaka is not being implemented because of political interests. There is a lack of good governance in every level of the country. Although there are investments in infrastructure for the development of the country, there is hardly any investment in their management.

Wahiduddin Mahmud said, urban development is essential for the overall development of the country. Urbanization is important to reach the middle income country.

AQM Mahbub said although most of the raw materials of garments industry are supplied from other regions, 80 percent of the country's garment factories are located in Dhaka. And all the development of the country is centered on Dhaka. Emergency services are not available in rural and municipal areas. Decentralization of government services should also be done.