Build affordable homes

Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury urged the developers to build affordable homes for all under public private partnership in a planned way. “You should not think about the rich people only, you should build affordable houses keeping all classes of people in mind”, Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury said this while addressing as the chief guest at a seminar on ‘Challenges of Real Estate in Urbanization and Decentralization’ organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital on Sunday.

“Our real estate sector is developing as the overall economic sector is growing rapidly. At the same time we have kept in mind to protect agricultural land to ensure food safety. We are doing land zoning in this regard”, the minister said. Mentioning that the cabinet of the government has representatives from private sector, he said, “Our government is business friendly. Private sector plays a vital role in our economic development. Our private sector could not be developed if the government had not facilitated it.”

The minister said, we know there are some challenges to decentralization of the capital; you (developers) are the people to overcome those challenges by giving your cooperative efforts and long term planning. The minister also said, “In our election manifesto, we put forward a point that ‘villages will turn into towns’. Our government is working to provide all modern facilities of towns to every village, including developed roads, infrastructure, educational institutions and others.”

In his speech as special guest, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam said, “I visited the FR tower after the devastating fire incident. There is no monitoring system. We want to build this Dhaka as a safe city for all. You (developers) are the key player in this regard.” Mentioning Segufta Apartment project at Manikdi, mayor said, “About 30,000 flats are being built at Manikdi, and about two lakh people will live in those flats. But I am concerned about planning, capability and sewerage system of those flats. You should build all the flats under a long-term, planned, integrated and collective way.”

Chief Architect of Housing and Public Works Ministry Kazi Golam Nasir presented the keynote paper on challenges of real estate in urbanization and decentralization at the seminar. He said Land scarcity and land value, migration, approval system, high interest on bank loan, high price of construction materials, tax, VAT, registration charges, communication system for satellite cities, lack of skilled labour are the major challenges of real estate in urbanization.

Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) president Alamgir Shamsul Alamin said, “Bangladesh is a unique country. Despite having many challenges, we handed over two lakhs apartment and 70,000 plots to the people which is contributing to reducing housing crisis.” He mentioned that contribution of real estate sector is more than seven percent in total GDP, and sought government’s support to revive this sector.

DCCI former director Salim Akhter Khan said real estate sector creates a lot of employment directly and indirectly as well. He said, “All want to go there where livability index is high. We must push up the livability index. It is the job of the developers to increase the livability index.” DCCI president Osama Taseer gave the welcome address and moderated the open discussion of the seminar.

Among others, managing director of Vistaara Architects Mustafa Khalid Palash, Managing Director of Paradise Development and Construction Ltd and DCCI director Engr Md Al-Amin, DCCI senior vice president Waqar Ahmed Chowdhury also addressed the panel discussion in the seminar.