Sadat Hossain Selim, Managing Director of Anwar Landmark Limited, is not a typical real estate developer. He wants profit from his housing business, but not at the cost of the beauty of Dhaka city.
"I feel really sorry when I see Dhaka is growing in an unplanned way," Selim said talking to the FE recently.
"The city's unplanned growth is a matter of concern," he says suggesting decentralisation of administration to rid the city of environmental and social hazards. He says none of the master plans taken up to make the city livable was implemented, resulting in an unplanned expansion in 34 years after the independence of Bangladesh.
Holding the centralisation of power responsible for the rapid and unplanned growth Sadat Selim recommended effective decentralisation to stop the influx of village people to the capital in search of better life, livelihood and lifestyle.
Dhaka, a city of millions, is affected by several factors including unplanned development, non-implementation of laws and plans, lack of co-ordination amongst the service-providing agencies, ambiguous institutional arrangements and so on. Anwar Landmark MD says the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakhya (Rajuk), the city planning authority, failed miserably to give Dhaka the real look of a capital city.
Selim says Rajuk cannot be a developer and the regulator at the same time. "If it is regulator it should refrain from developing and selling plots," he says adding "as the regulator Rajuk has a bigger role to bring the city in order."
Suggesting development of genuine housing zones in and around the city, Anwar Landmark top brass is of the opinion that lands after acquisition should be distributed among private developers through proper bidding so that the low income group of people can also think of buying an apartment. This will be a more transparent process, he asserts.
Citing example of Uttara and Dhanmandi, Selim says, the model towns developed by Rajuk have turned into commercial zones as the lands purchased by fortunate people have been sold out to the real estate developers. "If bidding is ensured I am optimistic that we can accommodate more people in a planned way," he claims. Now cost of land development swelling seriously as the land owners after getting the plots from Rajuk are charging highly inflated price for lands.
Scarcity of open space is forcing many developers to go to the outskirts of the city. But those are also not being designed properly as the lands are under occupation of influential groups. The lands outside Dhaka should be developed under total supervision of water ministry, land ministry and other departments of the government so that unscrupulous people cannot exert their influence, Selim opines.
Sadat Selim says Dhaka has to be expanded towards all sides. But residential plots should be in exclusive zones having all facilities including roads, transport system, gas, power, water and sewage, educational institutions and health amenities etc.
The population of Dhaka is not less than 10 million at the moment. According to available statistics, 60 per cent of the total city population do not have their own homes. By the year 2020 the city population will be around 50 million. "In such a case we need visionary people in urban planning," Selim says adding "good governance, democratic participation, decentralisation of power, transparency and accountability and a corruption-free management are essential to achieve the goal of turning Dhaka into an ideal city. "
About his company, Sadat Selim says, Anwar Landmark is the only company in real estate sector to have achieved ISO9001/2000 Certificate for design and construction of residential and commercial buildings in less than two years of operation.
Within four years Anwar Landmark handed over more than 300 units apartments and 265 shops. Five hundred apartments are being constructed under a mega project.