The government has taken a project to improve the living conditions in informal settlements in selected municipalities with proper security which will encourage the poor not to move towards big cities.
Around one million people migrate to urban areas every year in Bangladesh, and the cities and towns cannot accommodate the influx of migrants for lack of adequate planning and development, most notably in terms of the provision of adequate shelter, according to the World Bank.
National Housing Authority (NHA) under the Housing and Public Works Ministry will implement the pilot project with the World Bank financing in the next five years, an official engaged in the project told UNB.
He said the World Bank would provide around US$ 80 million to implement the project, titled ‘Pro-poor Slum Integration Project- Our Home Our Way.’
Comilla City Corporation, Sirajgonj Municipality, Narayanganj City Corporation, Dinajpur Municipality and Barisal City Corporation have been finally selected for the implementation of the pilot project.
Officials said the project will be implemented in a ‘participatory housing development’ manner and primarily housing for 7500 families would be developed.
Another official said the government has prepared two reports -- Environmental Management Framework (EMF) and Social Assessment and Social Management Framework (SASME) -- before going for the project implementation.
“We’re now seeking opinions from people concerned on the two reports. The opinions and suggestions can be sent within 30 days,” he said adding that the reports would be finalised then.
To date, according to the SASME, the government has mostly ignored the growth of slums and informal settlements in urban areas, or reacted by evicting squatters in the existing informal settlements.
But with the country’s shift from an agriculture-based economy to one based on industry and services, attention to urbanisation and the resulting development priorities has increased, mentioned the public document.
In this context, to help the urban poor secure tenure and improve informal settlements and slums, the government has requested the World Bank’s assistance and financing to pilot new approaches to urban slum improvement.
Following international good practice and building on the strong NGO presence in slums, the proposed project would test several types of community-driven solutions to addressing housing in five selected towns or city corporations of Bangladesh.
The overall objective of the project is to improve living conditions in informal settlements in selected municipalities in the country.
This will be achieved by enhancing security of tenure, improving infrastructure, and facilitating access to credit for improvements in shelter based on plans developed by the community.
The project beneficiaries are organised urban poor communities with savings capabilities and a demonstrated ability to transition to secure and affordable housing options.
Bangladesh is a densely populated developing country where most of the people live in rural areas.