Book on Real Estate launched

Experts Saturday criticised the government's move to provide middle income people with cheaper housing as some state machinery have been bribing various individuals by allotting plots which they sell to realtors at higher prices.

They compared the plot allotment at various government housing projects developed on commoners' land with 'selling tickets in the black market', ultimately pushing up the flat prices in Dhaka.

They suggested land consolidation for construction of flats for providing healthy, environment-friendly, cost-effective and better amenities for general citizens.

"Allotment of plot is nothing but issuing of permit to sell it in the black market. I have not found a single person who has not sold his plot to the developers as soon as he pays the first instalment and gets the land deeds," said former president of Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) Architect Mobasher Hossain.

He made the observations while speaking as a guest of honour at a book launching programme at Sheltech Lounge in the city. The book titled 'Real Estate Development: Theoretical and Practical Issues in the Context of Bangladesh' has been written by Toufiq M Seraj, managing director of Sheltech Pvt Ltd.

Centre for Urban Studies (CUS) chairman Prof Nazrul Islam, Bishwa Sahitya Kendra chairman Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed and Brac University Professor Emeritus Ainun Nishat attended the programme as the guests of honour.

Sheltech chairman Kutubuddin Ahmed and Pathak Shamabesh publisher Shahidul Islam Bizu jointly published the book.    

Mr Mobasher said the cheapest flats can be constructed in Dhaka compared to that of other districts as they have to carry all the construction materials from Dhaka.

But per square feet land is sold at Tk 10 million to 15 million in the government housing projects like Dhanmondi and Gulshan and many other parts as the plot allottee sells the plot to the developers at thousand times higher than the government price, he added.

Citing an example of the success of housing sector in new Calcutta of India, he said the West Bengal government has successfully contained the sick trend which started in Salt Lake City. Now the maximum price of per square feet land is Rs 3,500 to 4,000 there which should be the price in Dhaka as the construction cost is the same in two places.

The real estate sector of Bangladesh is such a sector where many development issues are related. Unfortunately, the sector has not yet been developed publicly. He said if Rajuk would have implemented the Bangladesh National Building Code 2006, the old part in Dhaka could have been better than new Dhaka.  

"Architects, planners and engineers can come up with excellent designs and proposals. But the implementation lies with the politicians," said Mr Mobasher, also an environment activist.