NOTHING is more distressful when the authorities seemingly choose to ignore the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) for Dhaka. Judging by what has been printed in newspapers, we believe that some 47 projects have been approved this week that allow for residential plots to be built up on restricted zones like flood flow areas, water bodies and agricultural lands. Indeed, if that be the case we wonder if violation of DAP is being resorted to in the name of development activities. Then obviously the price for such deviation will have to be borne by the city, and ultimately its residents.
It has to be noted that the current DAP is valid till 2015, after which a new version is supposed to come into effect. We are led to believe that the changes being proposed to the new DAP could open up opportunities for land grabbers to do as they will in the hitherto restricted zones. In fact, such intentions are already manifesting themselves presently as a number of housing projects have been approved by relaxing DAP rules.
While we fully appreciate that the capital city needs to be expanded to make it liveable, such expansion must be in accordance with DAP's original principles. Filling up of restricted zones in the name of city improvement and expansion cannot come at the expense of the city's sustainability. We endorse the environmentalists' concern for any ill-judged revision of the DAP to suit the purposes of vested interests of which the government should be wary. The government must hold the violators of DAP to account keeping the city's interest uppermost in its mind.