Urban planners' platform, the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), has urged the government not to undertake more projects than it can afford.
The government fails to complete most of the development work with the initially estimated cost and deadline. Therefore, both the project cost and time go up – compromising the quality of the work, and intensifying public sufferings, BIP leaders told a press conference in Dhaka Thursday.
BIP General Secretary Adil Mohammed Khan said the government's political goodwill faces questions since the development projects have been revolving around the same cycle for decades.
"The government has recently acknowledged the implementation delay, which is a positive sign. The government now says procrastination and cost overruns have become a common trend. There is almost no instance of project implementation within the stipulated time and money," Adil Mohammed noted.
He said 48 out of the total 96 projects implemented under the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges from 2016 to 2020 got time extensions.
Referring to the mosquito menace in Dhaka, the urban planner said the city dwellers are not getting relief since the anti-mosquito programmes have become heavily pesticides-dependent.
Adil Mohammed said the two Dhaka city corporations spend 90% of their anti-mosquito drive allocations only to buy pesticides.
"In the last five years, the two city corporations have allocated Tk321.60 crore for mosquito eradication, of which Tk240.61 crore has been spent on pesticides," he said.
He noted the need for greater political will to free Dhaka canals from illegal occupation.
"Most of the encroachers and polluters are all influential and politically powerful. For this reason, the change in Dhaka canal ownership from Wasa to city corporations will not be able to retrieve the water bodies."
He commented the canals could only be retrieved if there is an unwavering determination at the highest level of the state and the government.
At the press conference, BIP President Professor Akhter Mahmud said building owners have claimed that they constructed establishments on canals following the authorities' building codes and approval.
"The question is who gave them the approval," Akhter Mahmud asked.
At the press conference, BIP leaders said some clubs or influential quarters have been occupying many playgrounds in Dhaka for a long time. They also demanded making the fields occupation-free.
They said occupying or leasing the fields and preventing children and adolescents from entering the grounds in the name of maintenance is illegal and a clear violation of the law.
The city corporations are responsible for ensuring everyone's access to the playground by setting up community-based committees for the maintenance, said BIP.