The ICT Division of the government plans to set up the high-tech park named Mohakhali ICT Village under the Private Sector Development Support Project in the 19-hectare land of the slum located beside the Gulshan-Banani Lake in the capital under wards 19 and 20 of Dhaka North City Corporation.
During the census of 2011, around 40,700 people lived in Korail, the biggest slum in Dhaka.
A report of the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest (EEP) published in 2012 shows that more than 20,000 families reside in Korail.
However, following the writ petition filed in 2012 by Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), the High Court directed the ICT Division to take appropriate measures for the rehabilitation of the slum dwellers, who came to Dhaka city in search of livelihoods.
Two years later, in 2014, BHTPA published the report suggesting six options for the resettlement of the poor people.
In the first option, the feasibility study recommends that the BHTPA with support from its ministry and other government agencies takes responsibility to compensate the project affected persons and the responsibility of resettlement is vested on the project affected persons.
The second option says the BHTPA provides responsibility to the PPP (public private partnership) investor, to pay-off the project affected persons with sufficient compensation. The responsibility of resettlement will be with the PPP investor.
Option three recommends that the BHTPA provides responsibility of resettlement to the PPP investor with obligation to provide a replacement site or housing outside the boundaries of the project.
Option four says the responsibility of resettlement is also provided to the PPP investor with obligation to provide a replacement site or housing outside the boundaries of the project.
However, the PPP investor is allowed to recover the resettlement costs from premium housing built within the project boundary. Thus in balance, capital outlay for resettlement may be returned from the income from premium housing.
According to the option five, the responsibility of resettlement is also provided to the PPP investor.
However, the PPP investor will be provided land within the project boundary for building the economy housing for resettlement. The investor will build premium housing and economy housing (for resettlement) facility. Revenue generated from premium housing will cover the cost of economy housing and resettlement.
According to the sixth option, the government will take the responsibility of resettlement of the entire Korail slum. This will require inter-ministerial decision with the involvement of three executing agencies – BHTPA, Public Works Department and Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Authority.
Implementation of social resettlement project will provide apartments to the inhabitants depending on the preference of resettlement options. A total of 1,545 flats would be given to the residents, who have been living there for long time, according to the report.
However, Dustha Shasthya Kendra (DSK), an NGO implementing the project Promoting Environmental Health for the Urban Poor for Korail slum, and BLAST have proposed the following medium-to-long term recommendations:When prioritising low cost housing, the government must involve the extreme poor in the process and consider their employment sources and transport costs while selecting the location for the housing. Allocation of low-cost housing must be transparent and on a need only basis.
When prioritising low cost housing, the government must involve the extreme poor in the process and consider their employment sources and transport costs while selecting the location for the housing. Allocation of low-cost housing must be transparent and on a need only basis.
The state must take the responsibility for provision of all utilities services in the slum to cut out middlemen who exploit the urban extreme poor.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday Urban Planner Prof Nazrul Islam said, “Around 40,000 to 50,000 permanent residents are there in the Korail slum. They are also involved in various professions in Mohakhali, Banani, Gulshan and other areas of the city. So it is not possible to shift all the people from the slum area.”
“The government may put a number of the slum people in that area by providing apartments. Rest of the slum dwellers, who lived here for more than 20 to 25 years, may shift to another satellite city and other PWD free spaces adjacent to the city areas,” he said.
The eminent urban planner, however, said the government also may follow the slum rehabilitation procedures in Mumbai of India.
Prof Nazrul claimed that the government has completely failed in the rehabilitation of Bhashantek slum dwellers in the capital.
According to media reports, the government in 2004 initiated the Bhashantek Rehabilitation Project in the city’s Mirpur area for the slum dwellers, who were evicted.
The project, initially awarded to a private realtor North South Property Development Limited, failed to deliver 13,660 flats in five years that ended in 2009.
There were two types of flats in Bhashantek project – type A and type B – the selling prices of which were fixed at Tk2 lakh for A type and Tk390,000 for B type.
For type A flats of 215-square-feet, the slum residents were supposed to give Tk10 thousand as deposit money and the rest to be paid in installments -- around Tk3,200 monthly.
For type B of 395-square-feet, the deposit money was Tk50 thousand and the rest of the total amount was supposed to be paid within five years through a monthly installment of Tk14,200.