The parliamentary standing committee on the ministry of housing and public works, (MOHPW), has formed a sub-committee to probe approvals given to half a dozen private housing projects flouting a High Court order declaring them illegal in June last year. These housing schemes also violate private housing land development rules 2004.
It is reassuring that the parliamentary watchdog on the MOPW has finally taken a step in the right direction.
Some realtors have been developing housing projects upon approval from the MOHPW. And the MOHPW, on its part, gave the approval upon recommendations from the real-estate regulator Rajuk.
But how could the ministry give the nod of approval to these projects in the first place when there is an HC order that declared 70 housing schemes including the six under review illegal?
In an earlier report on this issue in October, it was said the MOHPW had amended the private housing development rules 2004, softening the pre-requisites required for approval of a private housing scheme.
In fact, the housing projects that got the ministry's approval were still defaulting on the requirement of applying for such approval within six months of the said housing development rules 2004's having come into effect.
Taking advantage of this compromising stance on the ministry's part, the realtors behind these six schemes in question have encroached upon government and private lands, grabbed rural households, filled up wetlands including croplands, and destroyed the livelihood of local people. They also inflicted irreversible damage to the delicate ecological balance of these low lying areas on the eastern fringe of the capital city.
It is hoped that the findings of the probe body under the parliamentary watchdog for the housing ministry would identify the loopholes in the approval process and come up with suggestions for urgent action against the illegal housing projects.