Nearly 60% of urban population is concentrated mainly in four metropolitan cities: Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna while the rest live in 564 urban centers, a researcher said.
Dr M Maksudur Rahman, a faculty at Dhaka University’s Geography and Environment department, presented a paper yesterday at Urban Dialogue 2014 held at Spectra Convention Centre in the capital.
The programme was jointly organised by Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh, Islamic Relief Bangladesh and World Vision Bangladesh.
In the first Urban Dialogue in 2013, researchers said Dhaka alone has more than 40% of the total urban population while Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi together have about 55%.
Dr Maksudur pointed out that marginal people living in urban areas have been suffering from various problems, such as proliferation of slums and squatter settlements, lack of basic service facilities (water and electricity supply, sanitation, fuel for cooking), degradation of urban environmental quality, increase of crime and violence and a rise in various kinds of natural and human-induced hazards.
He said Chittagong City, which is the second largest and the main port city of the country, has not yet experienced a similar level of analytical investigation although the city has a wide range of environmental hazards apart from its hilly and coastal settings.
“Actually, except some, many NGOs have not been properly working and there has been no co-ordination among the NGOs, government and other institution in this regard,” he said
Speakers at the dialogue said the government should focus on the welfare of the urban marginalised people while preparing the Urban Development Policy.
They also noted that the condition of the poor and marginalised people, which makes up around 26% of the total population are living in urban areas, were currently in a very vulnerable position.
They said with increasing population, urban poverty along with other shortages in housing, health, education, sanitation and nutrition problems had created a negative impact on almost every sphere of urban livelihood.
Besides, water, air and sound pollution along with waste management, load-shedding continues to be serious problems in urban areas, they added.
Leaders from various forums, national and international NGOs shared their experiences while discussions were held on Housing for Urban Slums and Urban Resilience and Development planning, which included Urban governance, WASH and DRR, Climate Change, and Advocacy on Gender on the basis of Child Rights, Child Development and Child Protection.
Besides, National Housing Authority Chairman Shahid Ullah Khandakar and World Vision National Director Jan De Waal were also present at the program.