Country Report Bangladesh January 1996 Main report

Political scene: Plan for Dhaka's development is criticised

The draft of the Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan for 1995-2015, prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, was presented to a national seminar on December 3-5, for review and suggestions. According to the study, the population of Dhaka Metropolitan Area will grow to 12.6 million by 2006 and to 15.7 million by 2016, in an area of 1,530 sq km. The last master plan for Dhaka was drawn up in 1959, since when the city has grown massively, from only 1 million people spread over 829 sq km to an estimated 8.7 million people in 1995. The rapid growth of the population has inevitably shown up a wide range of infrastructural inadequacies.

Major criticisms were made of the new plan, including that it lacked any economic perspective and failed to acknowledge the vital part that Dhaka plays in the economy of the whole country. Moreover, it gives no indication of how the enlarged population is to support itself, or how communications within the metropolitan area are to be achieved. The plan was also criticised for lacking a democratic quality, giving the impression, for example, that the solution to the widespread problem of squatters was to suggest that they should not be there.

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