Under the pressure of influential groups, the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) has given a special concession on the height limit of buildings in just five locations including the Bashundhara, Jalshiri, Jhilmil and Gulshan residential areas among a total of 346 Dhaka blocks, alleged the Institute of Architects Bangladesh.
The professional organisation for architects in Bangladesh has demanded that the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), which has prepared the DAP 2022-2035, should come out of such an approach and revise the plan.
"The maximum floor area ratio (FAR) standard of 5-6 has been given in just 1% area of Dhaka city. It means buildings can be constructed with double the number of floors of the FAR standard," Architect Iqbal Habib, convener of the working group on DAP of the institute, said in his keynote presentation at an event on Monday.
FAR is an index to determine the size and height of a building, he said at a stakeholder meeting titled "Gazetted DAP: Review, Evaluation and Feedback" held at the auditorium of the institute.
Iqbal Habib alleged that Rajuk had finally convinced the LGRD minister to approve DAP. Even the prime minister does not know that DAP has given such a priority to some influential groups.
Taking a dig at Rajuk for its failure to ensure compliance in building constructions, he said it is not possible to implement DAP by Rajuk which says 87% of the buildings in Dhaka are illegal or unauthorised.
The architect said the FAR that was given in the draft DAP for the Bashundhara Residential Area, Jalshiri Housing Project Area, Jhilmil Project Area and Gulshan area has been increased by three times.
"All those who got FAR above four are from Gulshan, Baridhara and Dhanmondi areas. It has been done to give privilege to the rich. And relatively underdeveloped areas such as Mohammadpur, Badda, Shankar, Adabar and Tolarbagh have been given the lowest FAR," he added.
Iqbal Habib also said, out of 346 blocks of Dhaka city, 5-6 FAR standard has been given for just five blocks, 4-5 for 10 blocks, 3-4 for 19 blocks and 1-3 for all the rest.
He said on the land where an 8-storey building could be constructed as per the Dhaka Building Construction Rules 2008, now a 4-6 storey building can be built there under DAP.
He also said the decentralisation of Dhaka requires the development of surrounding areas. But DAP allowed the highest four-storey building constructions in Gazipur, three-storey in Ashulia, Pubail, Keraniganj and Rupganj.
The architect said, according to DAP's expected population density of 200 to 250 people per acre of land, the net residential population in the central region of Dhaka will be 390 people in 2035. But according to the DAP estimate, there will be 531 people per acre in Dhaka, which means 141 people will be out of the housing plan.
Architect Mubasshar Hussain, president of the institute, said many people will have to leave Dhaka as per the DAP.
"How to evict large sections of the population, how to ask them to leave, is our question," he added.
Dewan Abdul Mannan, a ward councillor of the Dhaka North City Corporation, came down hard on Rajuk, saying "it has turned into a bribe-taking institution".
"Rajuk is making a mockery of DAP. Where earlier eight-storey houses could be built, according to the current DAP, four-storey houses can be built there. This will create anger among people," he added.
Ashraful Islam, DAP project director at Rajuk, refuted the allegations made by the architects.
"At present, as per the average density recommended by DAP, it will be possible to accommodate a maximum of 6.36 crore people in the Rajuk areas," he told The Business Standard.