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Bangladesh - April 3, 2022

City residential areas turning to commercial

Chaos, gridlock now regular phenomenon

Golam Mostafa Jibon : Most of the residential areas of the capital are now being used as commercial areas violating the directive of the authorities concerned. As a result, concern has created over the security of those areas as well as chaos and traffic gridlocks on the roads in the posh areas have now become regular phenomenon.
According to the sources, the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) constructed Uttara Model Town, Banani and Gulshan as residential areas. But over time, most of these residential areas have become commercial. The posh residential areas have lost the status of suburbs behind commercial establishments. Residential plots in the area are being converted into commercial plots at a cost of Tk 25 lakh to Tk 50 lakh per decimal. In the meantime, both sides of some roads in these areas are being used for commercial purposes. As a result of commercial use, residential areas have lost their unique appearance. According to RAJUK sources, the Ministry of Housing and Public Works issued a notification on September 20 in 2004. From Gulshan Shooting Club in Gulshan and Banani residential area of RAJUK to Gulshan 2 premises; Kamal Ataturk Avenue in Banani, from Gulshan-Banani Link Bridge to Gulshan-Baridhara Bridge; Plots on both sides from Gulshan-Mohakhali Bridge to Badda Link Road (Gulshan South Avenue) are allowed for commercial use and plots on both sides of Banani Road-11 are allowed for commercial use. However, outside these roads, various residential plots of Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara area are being used
commercially after taking approval of RAJUK by paying scheduled fee. In this regard, RAJUK Chairman ABM Aminullah Nuri said, “There is an opportunity to convert residential plots in RAJUK area into commercial plots. However, there is no opportunity to convert to a commercial plot, if desired. We do not allow mass commercialization of plots. The ministry has a committee for this purpose. The committee gives legitimacy to the commercial plot only after due diligence.”
He said both sides of some roads in Uttara, Banani and Gulshan have been declared as commercial areas. However, the width of these roads is at least 50 feet and the commercial building is approved considering the traffic management. Tk 25 to Tk 50 lakh was taken against each decimal of land in the area to get approval as commercial. However, city planners are reluctant to accept the matter. They said that, without adequate screening, such conversions often take place under various pressures or in exchange for unethical money. They also commented that arbitrarily allowing the construction of commercial buildings would upset the balance need for the residents of an area to live.
Institute for Planning and Development’s (IPD) Executive Director and Planner Professor Adil Muhammad Khan said that, when planning goes on for a residential area, then the matters of residential area and traffic are considered. Later the area was created from that thought. But when it comes to commercialization after becoming a residential area, there is a big change in traffic management. With the increase in human movement in commercial establishments, other facilities also became limited. As a result, a region loses its livability. These irregularities have been happening year after year due to the inefficiency and weakness of the policy making authority.
It can be seen that not only commercial establishments have been set up in Dhanmondi with residential houses, but also educational institutes and hospitals have been set up there. Shopping malls are popping up one after another in this residential area. Now it is difficult to understand which is residential and which is commercial in aristocrat areas. The areas around Dhanmondi including Green Road have become a bustling commercial market. The ground floor of a residential building is being used as a factory or workshop. Markets have been constructed on two floors, three floors and four floors. The upper floors are also being used as residential flats. An uncomfortable environment has been created.
Recently, Dhanmondi Thana community police and locals staged a human chain demanding to stop construction of commercial establishments in Dhanmondi residential area. President of Dhanmondi Thana Community Police MA Kamal and General Secretary Mahfuzur Rahman said that, as a result of commercial establishments in residential areas, the residential environment is being ruined. The area is always buzzing with cars and people day and night. Students and adults are suffering in this. The situation of Gulshan-Banani, which are famous as elite areas, is more delicate. There are more than 50 schools and colleges, at least one and a half dozen private universities, about 20 banks, shopping malls, community centers, more than 100 diagnostic centers and clinics in Gulshan. There are also Chinese and fast-food shops, department stores and other types of shops. The residents have to live there enduring all the stress of trade. Endless hustle and bustle, parking across the road, a large number of people are coming and going till late at night and awkward dilapidated condition is going on all over Gulshan-Banani. The same situation is in Uttara Model Town residential area. Large commercial establishments have sprung up along various roads in the area including Rabindra Sharani, Gausul Azam Avenue and Sonargaon Janapath Road. Illegal shops have sprung up in the alleys of Uttara. There is floating raw markets somewhere. Floating shopkeepers are sitting in the streets. The sidewalk has been occupied and shops have been set up. There are mobile vegetable shops in vans at the corners of every road. As a result, it has become very difficult to lead normal life in the areas.
Local urged the authorities concerned to pay heed on the issue to keep the city livable for future generation.

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