The South City Corporation has asked for all kinds of information regarding the acquisition of the residential areas (Gazmahal-Shikaritola and Birbandha Kahra) of hundreds of thousands of residents outside the abandoned tannery zone in Hazaribagh of the capital. On Thursday, Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Tapas sought information from the Capital Development Authority (RAJUK) chairman. Also asked to inform him about the acquisition process.
Earlier, a memorandum was handed over to the Mayor on four-point demands, including protection of Ghazmahal-Shikaritola and Birbandha Kahra residential areas from acquisition. The memorandum was given by the President Rahyan Chowdhury and Member Secretary Mohammad Wadud Ali (Dipu). At this time, among the local dignitaries, Advocate Manik Hossain Milu, Samman Ahmed, Amjad Sardar, Dil Mohammad, Jane Alam, Md. Haji Arif, Rajeev Arifin Mithil, Shafiq Sardar, Shyamal Lal Madak, Matiur Rahman Moti and others were present. In this context, Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Tapas told Jugantar, ‘Locals informed me about the acquisition process in Hazaribagh by Rajuk. For this reason, I have asked to inform what kind of activities related to the acquisition of Rajuk Hazaribagh have been taken so far.’ The memorandum says, ‘We will not give flats and houses for the acquisition of Rajuk. Development of the area should be done by implementing Detailed Area Plan (DAP) if necessary. We will develop our residential area and we do not want Rajuk’s acquisition.’
According to the related sources, some tannery owners colluded with Rajuk for their own interests and suggested eviction and land acquisition of targeted people in Gajmahal-Shikaritola and Birbandha Kahra areas by representing them as slums. Rajuk has planned to evict the owners from the houses to do business on that advice. But for some mysterious reason this was not communicated to the Mayor of Dhaka City Corporation. It is known that Rajuk will acquire those areas through a project called ‘Dhaka Urban G-Generation’. Then he will make a plot on that land and sell it. The city planner of Rajuk Ashraful Islam told the media that the work will start in 2024. In between, on August 27, the Ministry of Housing and Public Works issued an order to redevelop the Hazaribagh area under the title ‘Dhaka Urban Regeneration Project’. At the same time new projects have been asked to redevelop the tannery area. The locals are protesting against it. In the memorandum, the initiative has been demanded to be stopped.
The memorandum also says that while the Prime Minister is giving houses to the homeless, Rajuk is taking steps to make the homeless in the capital itself. Rajuk’s decision contradicts the mayor’s election promise. During his election as a local member of Parliament, he outlined five themes: Heritage Dhaka, Beautiful Dhaka, Active Dhaka, Well-Governed Dhaka and Improved Dhaka. He has also promised to implement these outlines by formulating a master plan for the next 30 years. Among the issues that have been included in the five outlines of the manifesto is the retention of Dhaka’s traditions. But the initiative that Rajuk is going to take will destroy the tradition of old Dhaka.