12:00 AM, August 05, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 05, 2014

New scheme aims to save farmland

New scheme aims to save farmland

Govt designs Tk 424cr project to build multi-storey houses in 7 villages
Rejaul Karim Byron

The government is looking to save agricultural land from further shrinkage through constructing multi-storeyed buildings in villages.
Initially, the project will be implemented on pilot basis in seven villages across the country. Four-storeyed buildings will be constructed in each village to accommodate all families living there.
The Tk 424-crore pilot project, “Palli Janapad”, designed to be completed by June 2017 will be placed at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) today.
Villages will be selected from seven divisions based on some criteria, including inhabitants having a higher tendency towards building houses on agricultural land, a good number of them working abroad and sending handsome amounts of remittance and scope for acquiring necessary land for the project.
The villages whose residents are able to pay 30 percent of the construction cost in one instalment in advance and agree to share a building for living will be brought under the project.
In the model “Janapad” (locality), there will be playgrounds for children and walking trails for elderly people.  
The buildings will have spacious doors and windows and separate toilets, baths and basins for each family. Poultry and cattle farms will be at a distance so that the buildings remain free of bad odours.
An official of the planning ministry said the families would pay off the remaining 70 percent cost on completion of the construction in instalments as per their capacity.
Electricity, pure drinking water and road communication with the villages would be ensured, he said.
The pieces of land at the villages will be in possession of the owners but those will be cultivated as cooperatives through organic farming.  
According to the project document, every year Bangladesh is losing one percent of its agricultural land due to population boom, floods, natural disasters and use of land for houses, factories, roads and educational institutions. The project has been proposed to solve the problem.
Ferrocement and Sandwich panel will be used for constructing the proposed buildings, which will save 37 percent of the cost of traditional building construction.
Ferrocement is a mixture of cement and sand, while Sandwich panel is a type of flat panel comprising two thin aluminium sheets bonded together with a non-aluminium core.
As per the project document, living arrangements for 272 families will be made in multi-storeyed buildings in each village, saving about 13.05 acres of land needed for traditional housing.  
Besides, 16.26 acres of agricultural land will be saved, as the families will be provided with civic facilities through a single approach road.
Speaking of his concern, another high official of the planning ministry said the concept was good but the implementation would see many obstacles. The main hurdle will be persuading all families of a village to live in one place and have people of various income groups pay their share of the construction cost, he added.



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