The government is going to more than double the area of the two Dhaka city corporations through inclusion of 16 nearby unions, said LGRD ministry sources.
The proposal for the expansion would be placed at Monday's meeting of the National Implementation Committee for Administrative Reforms (NICAR) at the secretariat for approval.
As part of efforts to provide better civic amenities to the people of these unions, the government plans to add eight UPs each to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
According to city corporation officials, the total area of the two city corporations now stands at 127.63 sq km -- 82.63 sq km in the DNCC and 45 sq km in the DSCC.
If the proposal gets through the NICAR, an area of 178.75 sq km would be added to the two city corporations -- 114.58 sq km to the DNCC and 64.17 sq km to the DSCC, they said.
According to the proposal prepared by the LGRD ministry, Beraid, Badda, Bhatara, Satarkul, Horirampur, Uttarkhan, Dakkhinkhan and Dumni would be included in the DNCC, while Shyampur, Matuail, Demra, Dania, Sarulia, Dakkhingaon, Nasirabad and Manda in the DSCC.
Many residents of these 16 unions hailed the government move, and hoped they would soon be able to avail themselves of civic amenities like other areas under the city corporations.
Abu Jafar, a resident of Manda union, only a few kilometres from Motijheel under the DSCC, said they have to depend on outdoor lamps of roadside houses to walk on streets at night, as there are no streetlights in the area.
“This is one of our biggest problems,” said Jafar, also a former joint director of Bangladesh Bank.
Like the residents of Manda, people of the 15 other unions are deprived of civic amenities.
On November 29, 2011, the Awami League-led government split the DCC into two -- Dhaka north with 56 wards and Dhaka south with 36 wards -- in a bid to provide better services to city residents.
The proposal for expansion of the two city corporations was sent to the cabinet division in the third week of last month.
It says the 16 unions have witnessed rapid urbanisation over the years and the residents there have long been demanding the unions' inclusion in the city corporations.
Gigantic residential and commercial buildings, industries, hospitals and educational institutions have been set up in the unions, but the union parishads don't have the capacity to provide people with services such as garbage management, streetlights and better roads, it says.
Contacted, LGRD Secretary Abdul Malek said, “These unions have seen rapid urbanisation but the people there are deprived of civic amenities. The union parishad authorities don't have the means to address those. That's why we have taken the initiative.”
Talking to The Daily Star, Golam Bin Mortuza, a resident of Uttarkhan, said they have to rely on local organisations for disposal of their household waste.
Some residents in the area simply dump garbage wherever they can, causing troubles for others, he said.
Shyampur UP Chairman Shafiqur Rahman Saijul said, “Many industries have been set up in my area. People have electricity, water and gas, but they don't get many other civic amenities due to fund constraints of the union parishad.”
Locals said most of the roads in the area are in bad shape, especially the one connecting Shyampur with Dania and Matuail.
Some people doubted whether the two city corporations would be able to provide quality services in the expanded areas, as both are struggling to combat the mosquito menace, free footpaths from grabbers and repair roads.
Town planning expert Nazrul Islam said both the city corporations have failed to provide services properly in many wards.
“Their services are concentrated in high income areas. People in low income areas don't get the services properly,” he said.
DNCC Chief Executive Officer Mesbahul Islam told The Daily Star that they would seek allocation from the government for carrying out development work in these unions.
“We are prepared. Once the unions are included in the city corporation, we will start our work,” he added.
Asked, DSCC Secretary Khan Md Rezaul Karim said, “We may face problems temporarily. But I believe that we will be able to take all our services to the people in the new areas.”