History of RAJUK
Planning

Physical Development:

Planning is the fundamental issue in the process of city development. During plan preparation RAJUK follows certain principles, which include National Urban Policy, Project Design, Planning, Multi Sector Investment Program and existing Policies and Programs of different Agencies.

Construction:

RAJUK is one of the lead "Construction Actor" in the development process of Dhaka. The main activities include construction of roads, box-culverts/culverts and bridges and also development, excavation and filling of land.

Planning and Designing:

Planning and design are the basic stage of construction. Project preparation, feasibility study, project programming and time scheduling are directly under the planning component.

Design includes:
Conceptual Design
Selection of Materials
Design and Construction Code and Standards
Analysis of Dimensions and their Verification
Detailed Drawings
Detailed Qualities and Estimate of Materials.

Development Control

The Town Improvement Act 1953:

City area is changing continuously through development activities by different actors like government agencies, private developers, individuals and others. Planned urban growth is mainly based on the development control measures. Land use control in urban areas of Bangladesh is initiated with the adoption of the Town Improvement Act 1953.

The East Bengal Building Construction Act 1952:

The East Bengal Building Construction Act, 1952, (amended 1987) is also considered a legal document for development control. Rules, regulations and ordinances of the City Authorities are also being exercised for this purpose. Every construction requires permission as per provision of `The East Bengal Building Construction Act 1952 (amended 1987) (EBBC Act 1952)'. The developing agencies are empowered for planning permission and approval of building plans and prevent illegal constructions in the metropolitan areas.

Land Use Planning Rules:

Statutory rules control land use according to planning standards. It is based on land use policies including local plans, such as control of residential density, road standard, maintenance providing of infrastructure and services. The acts and the master plans of the cities are the principal legal instruments, which force and exercise planning control and standards.

The land use of metropolitan Dhaka ought to follow the provision of the City Master Plan. Housing, commercial and industrial project buildings need planning permission, which are generally practiced. It must be in conformity with the land use provision of the Master Plan.

Building Construction Rules:

According to the`East Bengal Building Construction Act-1952 (amended 1987)', each and every building within the designated areas of City `Master Plan’ needs approval from the City Development Agencies. As per Acts, the definition of building is: `Building includes a house, hut, wall and any other structure where of masonry bricks, corrugated iron sheet, metal tires wood, bamboo, mud, leaves, grass, thatch or any other materials whatsoever'.

The Act has empowered to initiate building rules under section 18, EBSC Act 1952 which has been updated, based on public interest, regularly since 1954, (in 1984, and in 1996). It has been formulated through the Government of Bangladesh exercising the power of the Act.

Authorized Sections and Building Construction (BC) Committees:

RAJUK has a Development Control Section (Authorized Section). Previously this section was comprised with two Authorized Officers, two Assistant Authorized Officers, four Chief Building Inspectors, 50 Building Inspectors and other staff. Now the number of Authorized Section increased in four (4) instead of two (2) by increasing the staff members and demarking the areas specified under control of each authorized jurisdiction. These sections are supported by the four Building Construction (BC) Committees headed by the Members (Planning and Development) for approval of the building plans and exercising the powers of the Act for planned growth of the city.

Other Activities

RAJUK as a prime Planning Authority represents Bangladesh as well as Dhaka City in various National and International Seminars, Symposiums and Workshops held in home and in abroad. RAJUK tries to incorporate and share the ideas and concepts related to planning and development adopted or practiced in different part of the World. RAJUK participates in various training programs to improve the organizational capabilities. RAJUK is an active member of CITYNET, SAARC-SHELTERNET and HABITAT-II.

RAJUK organize Seminars and Workshops on different Urban issues in regular basis, the seminar on World Habitat Day is an example.

Legal Aspects

A National Legal Consultant needed to be engage for an appropriate period to:
Prepare a legislative framework for the metropolitan level governance structure for Dhaka.
Prepare a legal framework for adoption of the Plan.
Draft suitable national legislation or legal instruments enabling land re-adjustment schemes to be undertaken in Dhaka.
The Plan attempted to draft Interim Planning Rules into a Semi-legal format, there will still be required some legal expertise to enable them to be legally acceptable and operational in the Bangladesh context. It could be done by the approach realistically formulated by an experienced National Legal Consultant who is familiar with Planning Laws in Bangladesh.

Functions of Planning Section

Authorized Sections and Building Construction Committee:

RAJUK control all the development activities of Dhaka City under the provisions of Town Improvement Acts, Building Construction Rules and Land Use Regulations within the area under its jurisdiction. Any use of land or any type of construction needs approval or clearance from RAJUK and Authorized Sections are responsible for issuing those land use clearances. Till very recent past RAJUK dealt with only two (2) Authorized Sections and each Authorised Section provided and served with 1 Authorized Officer, 1 Assistant Authorized Officer, 2 Chief Building Inspectors, 25 Building Inspectors and Sub Inspectors.

Under a notification issued by the government in 7th February 2001, the number of Authorized Section increased from 2 to 4 by some structural modifications. The areas of jurisdiction also specified for each Authorized Section. They are being well supported by the Building Construction Committees consist of 7 members and headed by the Members (Planning and Development). Each Authorized Section comprised with 1 Authorized Officers, 1 Assistant Authorized Officer, 1 Chief Building Inspector, 6 Building Inspectors and 10 Building Sub-Inspectors. Each Authorized Section has specified with its own areas of jurisdiction. BC committees were inactive for a period of 3 months (from 05.01 2000 to 12.02.2001) due to reorganize the committee and transferring and appointing new Member (Planning).

Land Use Clearance and Deviation in Plans/Constructions:

Land use clearances have found some or major deviations when constructing the buildings and seemed to be regular practice almost in every cases of approved plans. These happened due to non-applications of powers and lack in enforcement of building constructions rules and regulations. Negligence in duties, intention to forgo some specific cases, poor inspection and reporting and political influence made Authorized Section a fearsome part of the organization. In case of some critical issues, clients or developers some how manage the authority for land use clearances for particular areas where development is restricted for specific purpose. Peoples claimed that the files/plans are not approved properly and sites are not inspected as per given parameters. The unnecessary harassment or time killing or missing of specific files or put objections on files are most common practice dealing the Authorized Sections. The overall performance of this section is not up to the mark as mentioned by the clients.

In some cases the process of plan or building construction approval or clearance delayed due to some undefined circumstances and caused peoples to take alternative solutions. Misuse of power and Act also shown by the Authority as claimed by the clients create unnecessary harassment and delay. The provisions of Act clearly defined that the plans should be forwarded for clearance or approval within 45 days and if, any objection made in the plan must be notified within 30 days after submission for approval. In fact the process sometimes take more time as specified in the Act and in many cases it takes years to get the approval. RAJUK’s Authorized Sections are carrying out and dealing the process of development control and responsible for issuing land use clearance or approval for building plans under the provision of TI Act.

Building Heights and Regulation:

Civil Aviation Authority is now very much worried about building heights and high-rise constructions within the city area and trying to solve this problem as early as possible. Though they are not submitted any clear proposals defining or indicating the buffer where the developments to be controlled. Civil Aviation Authority not asking RAJUK for any clarification about height zone or land use clearance procedures for high rises or not given any guidelines for height restrictions. Meanwhile RAJUK is trying to develop, include and enforce some legal frameworks to limit building heights and constructions of high rises.

RAJUK has taken the issue seriously and making liaison with the concern authorities and departments to incorporate the ideas and suggestions for better control and check the growing tendency of high-rise buildings in and around the region close to the air traffic and vulnerable areas. There is need to be defined a clear, understandable and implement oriented rules and regulations to restrict building heights in specific/restricted areas. Building heights to be limited and to be varied in terms of location and environment.

Department of Environment (DOE) has imposed objection and made restrictions over land use clearance for high-rise buildings to protect environmental hazards and degradation of environmental quality and thus asked for prior approval. There is no such restriction imposed for constructing buildings up to 6-storied, but need prior approval from concern agencies and departments those who provide urban services and facilities.