A REPORT ON THE BEN-BAPA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE HELD IN DHAKA ON JAN
Engr. Hafizur Jahangir
Bangladeshi Engineers & Applied Scientist of BC, CANADA
Society for Bangladesh Climate Justice, Vancouver, CANADA
It was my pleasure & honour to attend the BEN-BAPA conference
at Dhaka held on Jan 08/11. It was possible due to my extended stay (originally
I was scheduled to return on 28th Dec/2010) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Besides
SBCJ's Open letter & Dr. Zaman's paper, I had
special interest as 3 of my direct professors of BUET Dr. Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Dr. Ain-un
Nishat, Dr. Firoze Ahmed were special speaker/Chair of different
sessions besides host of other scholarly persons. I utilised the
opportunity of networking & highlighting SBCJ activities in Vancouver,
It was one day very compactly arranged conference. Besides inaugural, concluding
& 2 plenary sessions, there were 9 expert sessions (morning &
afternoon) ran simultaneously in different rooms with separate tropics (Attendance
per person of max.2 such sessions - one each in the morning &
afternoon was possible only). As Mr. Rabbani has
pointed out in his report there was hurry feeling in every session due to time
limitations (Introduction by Chair, Co-chair, Organizer, then 4
presentations followed by Q&A. Finally, closing
remarks by Chair & Co-chair all in 90 minutes). We hope &
can request through SBCJ so that future organisers allow more time for the
important sessions to make it more fruitful. Nevertheless, it was a contemporary,
diversified seminar with burning issues & organisers deserve real credit
for accommodating so many presentations in one day with experts from home &
I will briefly mention some important information, discussions, suggestions, feelings,
opinions, concern of different speakers in the room & corridor which I
heard attending the conference:
are only few city planners in RAJUK /ministry. Need qualified urban
planners for every city/town.
required in our way of thinking, political-culture. People need trust
worthy, responsible, non-corrupt govt., environment friendly
initiative, people oriented social movement.
plan must have short/medium/long term specific attainable targets.
Unplanned, quick urbanisation has many bad effects & consequences. City need
planned urbanisation with adequate supply of drinkable water, power, gas,
affordable housing, quick/cheap transport, accessible treatment facility,
employment opportunity & pollution free environment & friendly
are loosing 1-2% cultivatable land every year for unplanned urbanisation.
If goes like this there may not be any agricultural land by 2050.
thing Dhaka based. People converging from every corner. Need planned,
workable decentralization immediately. Previous limited attempt even
failed due to non cooperation especially from bureaucracy. People must
have alternative/incentive for de-migrating from Dhaka.
gridlocked, unplanned construction, water logging, Encroachment/filling of
surrounding rivers, “Bosti” (slum) here &
there, electricity, gas, population are the burning issues. Generation was
168 MW in 1971. Each Govt even could produce 500 MW/Year in these 40 years
then we could have 20,000 MW where as we hardly have 5000MW.
over here & there is not the permanent solution. Ultimate is metro
(under/over land). We can start even one section of 5 km (example Kolkata,
India) as start. City needs many foot over bridges.
to be expanded all over (we got about 100 miles in 1947) with efficient
running(less pollution/traffic jam). Gas reserve being limited CNG only to
be supplied to mass transport not to private cars.
friendly smooth, uninterrupted footpath to be ensured which will encourage
people to walk short distance w/o rickshaw even. All garbage/construction
materials to be cleared from side walk.
designated areas for school, hospital, parking (multi-storey). Making some
roads one way all the time or for certain time (peak hour) of the
day. DAP, recently launched, planned 4 satellite cities introduced by
current govt. despite non cooperation & threats of Land Dacoits are a
bold commendable step.
waterways with proper transport (Water taxi like Bangkok).
regular pollution regulate dust (due const.), sound pollution.
FAR rule in building. construction &
make one stop permission process for multi-stories instead of passing
through 14 different authorities.
party talked about local govt. empowerment but when in power enforce micro
controlling through M.Ps making upozilla / union
porishad partly ineffective.
township idea all over the country of about 20,000 people each self
moving unit providing all basic facilities may be a considerable idea.
area needs 26,000 km road, 800 km Railway & 5000 km embankment
repair & height raising which may need estimated Bangladesh Taka.18,000
crores (180 billion). For climate proof infrastructures,
containing salinity need advance fund allocation.
advance planning for relocating & arranging alternate livelihood for
the coastal displaced population due to future climate change consequences.
stock exchange by “AM-JANATA” is not the sign of progress as not getting
any employment opportunity people moving there & loosing capital
totally .Being frustrated making procession/ burning cars in the street.
I raised following discussion points/questions in sessions
& with the different participants which attracted due attention from
- Shifting of BDR, Cantonment, Central jail, tanneries, chemical
& garment industries out of Dhaka giving them land, power, gas,
water & other infrastructure in designated areas. Tax
holiday/other incentives will be prime mover. This relocation only
will shift few millions & ease all other sectors.
- Full utilization of existing facilities what we already have for
example out of 3 lane road way--more than 2 lane
is occupied by bazaar/hawker/rickshaw/haphazard parking/ const.
materials & pedestrian. Why not enforce those
- Introducing circular train something like our Vancouver sky
train as it can be constructed over the traffic island (due land problem).
There are 14 railway crossings inside the city. If we stop 10 min. then average.
30 train daily each level crossing is halting
traffic for 5 hour. Multiplied by 14-- Think if on both side 200 vehicle
is halted each time for a train / level crossing, can we imagine the
man-hour loss, series of accumulated jam & its domino effects,
fuel cost, pollution & other hazards it create?? Can all train start
from Tongi or bypass the rail by eastern side
outside of main city?? Then existing railway track can be utilized
making elevated roadway (new land acquiring is big problem).
- As we are not making even 1 km road since long (not possible
easily) why not stop allowing 100 more additional new car daily
(possible with one office order only) as a temporary solution.
- Constracting a unauthorized / plan deviated bldg. need 2/3 years (on RAJUK area
supervisor's watch) then is it not unreasonable to order demolishing of
the Bldg. than punishing the Rajuk staff first.
Is it not RAJUK want to clean itself by damaging national wealth which is
Many speakers pointed out that there is no shortage of local expert knowledge for identification
& solution thereof for our problem. Enough costly seminars in 5 star
hotel with foreign paid consultants (unnecessary mostly), nice reports, enough
shows, news paper articles, discussions has happened already. Our biggest problem
is lack of real intention & planed implementation,
finishing within target time & budget. Need firm policy, vision &
honest determination rising above pretty personal / party line. Time of blaming
one another is over. Neither British nor Pakistan are ruling us any more.
Seminar, writing nice reports, big talk time passed long ago-- this is
the TIME TO ACT & GIVING SOME THINGS GOOD TO THE COUNTRY
Declaration: The author attended the
conference .The content and observation of this report reflects solely the
writer’s opinion and perspective.