The government plans to build 10,000 flats for the urban poor on a 10 acre land in Baunia, Mirpur according to Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain.
Speaking at the programme ‘National Convention on Housing Finance for Urban Poor’ held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Sunday he also said: “The construction of 550 flats is going to start very soon. The urban poor will be able to rent these flats the same way they rent shanties in slums.
“Another 1053 flats will be constructed at the Building Research Institute in Darussalam while 5700 flats are being constructed in 19 slum in three districts,” said a press release from the Housing Ministry.
Minister Mosharraf said Bangladesh is losing 235 hectares of farmland every day to the construction of private residences. “It is therefore imperitive to make a comprehensive housing policy and planning for the whole country.”
Brac Urban Development Programme (UDP) organised the day-long event with National Housing Authority, Urban Development Directorate, Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB), Bangladesh Institute of Planners and Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD).
The programme was chaired by Brac’s Senior Director for Strategy, Communications and Empowerment Asif Saleh and also attended by Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon among others.
Asif Saleh, having welcomed the housing minister’s suggestion for collaboration with Brac, and they have began research, pilots programs and other initiatives to address the housing crisis. ‘We are interested in making effective partnership with the government in this regard.’
Speakers at the programme said, despite the reduction of poverty in Bangladesh, urban poverty has been increasing. Between 1997 and 2014, urban poverty increased by 60.43%.
Every year over 500,000 people come to Dhaka. While the population of the city is increases every day, one in every three of its inhabitants end up living in the slums. It is expected that Dhaka will become the second most densely populated city in the world by 2020. Dhaka is currently the forth most densely populated city in the world.
Mayor Syed Khokon said:“Rapid urbanisation coupled with wrong planning and shortage of land has posed a great challenge to building a healthy and safe housing system in Dhaka and other cities.”
Around 75 mayors from different cities attended the event. The 300 guests included representatives and officials from UNDP and other INGOs, private enterprise and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.