Project Inception: March, 2011
Project Revised: June, 2012
Project Completion: September, 2015

Mymensingh Strategic Development Plan (MSDP) Project, 2011-2031

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:: Workshop ::

Workshop

According to the project design, there are three numbers of workshops are to be arranged at Mymensingh, as part of project components in the process of implementation of the project, with the aim of conducting such workshop is to bring the local people into main stream of development process and also to ensure their active participation in the process.

1.2 Objectives of the Present Workshop

The objectives of the present workshop are as follows:

·         To share the project related activities with the people of different strata of the society

·         To create public awareness among people about the possible risk of disaster and reduction of risk of disaster through land use planning and need for effective implementation of the planning package

·         To bring different segment of the society into a same platform to create enthusiasm among them for participating actively into development process

·         To obtain development vision of the inhabitants of Mymensingh;

·         To understand existing problem of Mymensingh, probable solution to the problems and the development potentials of Mymensingh from the point view of the inhabitants of Mymensingh.

2 Workshop at Mymensingh

As a part of the participatory planning process, a workshop was organized on the 25 May, 2013 at the Auditorium, Spandan, Amirabad Residential Area, Maskanda, Mymensingh. The workshop was chaired by Mr. A. S. M. Arif-ur-Rahman, Joint Secretary (Development), Ministry of Housing and Public Works, and Chairman, Technical Management Committee (TMC), Mymensingh Strategic Development Plan (MSDP)-2011-2031 Project. Professor Dr. A. T. M. Azharul Islam, Former Dean, Bangladesh Agricultural University, attended the workshop as special guest. Other members of TMC also attended the meeting as guest. People different segment of the society including, poor, student, priest, representative from civil society (covering writer, businessman, journalist, physician, engineer, public servant etc.) participated in the workshop.  A significant number of females also participated in the workshop. Table below shows the participation of people in workshop by male-female.

Table: Peoples Participation in the Workshop

Sl .No.

Participants of the Workshop

Number of Participants

Male

Female

Total

01

Invited guests and Consultants

13

04

17

02

Civil Society

20

-

20

03

Participants of PRA Dated 20.01.2012

03

03

06

04

Students

09

07

15

05

Poor People

05

11

16

Total

50

21

74

Source: Registration of Participants in the Workshop, 2013.

It is to be noted here that if any confusion arises about the contents of this part of the report, then the minutes of the workshop, which is attached in the Appendix-III, would be used as reference and be treated as the valid.

A brief description of the workshop is given in the sub-sections below:

2.1 Description of Activities of Workshop

The chairman inaugurated the session by welcoming the participants of workshop. Then he introduced himself and requested the guests in front of the participants of the workshop. After orientation, the Chairman requested the Projected Director, MSDP to explain the objectives, components and present status of project activities towards the audience present.

2.2 Presentation on Project background and Disaster Related Issues

Dr. K. Z. Hossain Taufique, Project Director (PD), MSDP Project, explained the function and activities of Urban Development Directorate (UDD) and the conceptual framework of MSDP project through Power Point Presentation. Then the PD requested Mr. Habibul Islam Sumon, Urban Volunteer, Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense (BFSCD), to come up with a presentation on “Rana Plaza” upset. Accordingly, Mr. Sumon gave a presentation on the rescue activities of “Rana Plaza” by BFSCD; and also discussed about the importance of the risk sensitive land use planning for Mymensingh with special reference to the “Rana Plaza” massacre.

As requested by the PD, Mr. Nurul Alam, Senior Structural Engineer, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) presented the importance of integrating disaster into comprehensive planning through Power Point Presentation. He also described about building failure and disaster resulted from building failure.

2.3 Presentation by the Local People on Different Aspects of Mymensingh

Professor Dr. A. T. M. Azharul Islam, Former Dean, Bangladesh Agricultural University, welcomed the effort of UDD and said that coordinated effort is essential to prepare the plan efficiently. He added that all efforts of planning would be in vain, if there is no synchronization between planning and implementation. He expected that there would be coordination between these two. Like the Shaharipatty of Dhaka, there are huge old buildings at Mymensingh Shakharipatty. He suggested that these buildings would also to be included into the planning process.

Participation of people in MSDP project has given due priority. As part of ensuring people’s participation in urban planning, three representatives from civil society Mr. Swapan Dhar, Mr. Abdus Sattar, and Mr. Md. Sazal Quareshi were given opportunity to present their articles in the workshop. The honorable Chair thanked the organizer of the workshop for such arrangement. After presenting his article, Mr. Sajal Quareshi emphasized on dredging of the river Brahmaputra to increase the navigation of the river for the development of the greater Mymensingh. He also emphasized on waste management, provision of potable water, establishing general university and high secondary college at government level and education board as well, at Mymensingh for the development of Mymensingh. He added that agro-based industries should be established at Shambhuganj. Besides, there is ample opportunity for flourishing fisheries and poultry sector at Mymensingh.

2.4 Conducting Session on “How do I Want to See My Mymensingh Town”

At this stage, the PD requested Mr. Anisur Rahman, Senior Project Manager, ADPC to facilitate the group-based discussion on “How do I Want to See My Mymensingh Town”. Accordingly, Mr. Anis invited opinion from the participants of the workshop. Following his invitation, the discussion started, which is describes below:

Mr. Md. Faruque, Service holder, began the discussion with the statement that provision of park for children should be made at Mymensingh Town. He requested to establish community clinic by dividing Mymensingh Town into several zones in preparing plan to make health service easily available.

Mr .Mobasher Hossain Bhuiyan, businessman, opined that urban plan should be prepared by keeping adequate provision of infrastructure like park, hospital, police outpost, playground, road network etc.

Mr, Shantanoor Alam, cultural worker, emphasized on urban development through prepaparing plan in a scientific procedure.

Mr. Shahadat Hossain Khan Hilu, cultural worker, emphasized on preparing plan by considering Mymensingh as educational town. He expected future Mymensingh town as safe, having adequate provision of amusement park and theatre hall; and industry and water logging free town.

Mr. Zahirul Haque said that there are 20 (twenty) clinics and hospitals and within the residential area of Brahmapally, due to which residential character of the area had been lost. Hence, he requested to identify residential and commercial area distinctly in preparing plan.

Mr. Keshob Chakrabarti, monk, Bangladesh Agricultural University and Anantamayee Asram, Mymensingh, told that there had been four ponds beside his temple in the area, but water of those ponds were not usable due to dumping of solid waste in these ponds. Hence, habitable urban area should be developed on the basis of making available five fundamental needs of the people, he urged.

Begum Noorjahan introduced herself as a helpless and poor woman. She lived at Patgudam area near Shambhuganj Bridge. The area of her residence was not healthy. She requested to make her neighbourhood healthy.

Begum Ramija Khatun was a helpless and poor woman, who lived beside the rail line. She requested to develop a healthy town through proper planning initiative.

Mr. Palash Talukder, said that there had been prevalence of hijacking, lack of security and roads were narrow at Mymensingh. So, he emphasized on the proper implementation of plan for promoting urbanization in an efficient manner.

Mr. Fakhrul Kallol, Service holder, reported about prevalence of drug abuse and lack of social security at Mymensingh town and requested to improve the situation.

Dr. D. C. Paul, Physician, requested to think about the issue of establishing 2nd Metro Rail at Mymensingh, considering the town as the satellite of Dhaka City. At the same time, he reported that about 50 percent of the inhabitants of Mymensingh town had been suffering from Asthma due to environment pollution as congested area and also due to lack of proper solid waste management system. So, he requested the Chairman to consider the issue of environmental health with due importance in preparing plan for Mymensingh.

Mr. Tapan Shaha, Teacher and Researcher, reflected some issues in his speech at the workshop. These are: (i) To develop a new town on the other bank of the river Brahmaputra by constructing a bridge on the western side of Kanchari Ghat over the river Brahmaputra. (ii) Ananda Mohan College may be upgraded as a full-fledged university; and its faculties may be distributed into different places and even may be shifted to the other bank of the river. (iii) Ensuring security and (iv) constructing flyover at Natun Bazaar and C. K .Gshoh road.

Mr. Sazib Bhaumik, Dramatics Personae, requested to ensure fundamental needs of the proplr including employment opportunity, security.

Father Rodon Robert Kadima, Priest, Padri Mission, Bhati Kasore, Mymensingh, said that digging of road started during rainy season, which created traffic congestion in different parts of Mymensingh. He suggested constructing several flyovers to minimize traffic congestion.

Begum Halima requested not to renovate the roads during rainy season rather doing it during dry season. She also suggested constructing several culverts on appropriate locations where necessary.

Begum Monira requested to include water logging and waste management in to planning package.

Mr. Shafiqul Islam, Businessman, suggested improving the communication with Dhaka, increase the plan period from twenty years to fifty years, establish EPZ and make provision of potable water. He stated with sorrow that construction of Mymensingh stadium had been completed up to sixty percent. Meanwhile, a crack already been detected at the constructed portion. Moreover, crack also been detected at “Children and Maternity Hospital” and many other buildings of Shakharipatty as well. He requested to take necessary action rapidly so that incident of another “Rana Plaza” would not occur. He accused the reason of traffic congestion for the death of his sick nephew; and expected that there would be provision of proposal for minimizing traffic congestion in the ongoing planning project.

Engr. Jainal Abedin, Retired Divisional Engineer, BTCL, suggested to extend the town on the other bank of the river Brahmaputra; develop both the side of the river equally and lying out utilities and services line in a specific lane. He also requested to consider the issue of constructing an airport at Mymensingh with due importance.

Mr. A. T. M. Zahirul Haque, requested to improve the communication with Dhaka so that free freight movement become easier. He requested to allocate suitable location for a bus stand, a market and children’s park. He emphasized on increasing money flow for Mymensingh, reviving the BSCIC industrial estate and creating employment opportunity for the students. He also suggested for shifting of railway line and lake development.

M/s Rakhi, Student, Ananda Mohan College, said that road network and drainage system are not in good condition, which would be required to improve.

Mr. Deelip Roy, Student said that there is residential hostel for students; that’s why he resided in a mess. Sukanta Hall is reserved for the Hindu students, but the condition of the hall is worse. There is lack of security system. There had been no police outpost in and around Ananda Mohan College. He added that renovation work of drainage is executed during rainy season, which increase the suffering of the people.

Mr. Sudip Chandra Biswa Nath, Student said that condition of the student hostel, which is reserved for the Hindu students, is very poor.

M/s Kakoli, Student, said that she resides at the private mess, since there is no girls’ hostel. The owner of the mess increases rent of seat every year and does not supply adequate water properly.

Then, Mr. Anis the facilitator of the workshop presented summary of findings from the discussions.

3 Discussions by the Members of the TMC

At this stage, the Chairman requested the members of TMC to contribute to the MSDP Project with their expert opinion in the workshop. In this connection, the members of TMC shared their views about MSDP Project with the participants’ of the workshop. Opinion of the TMC members is described below:

Dr. Nurul Islam, Urban Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist, CDMP, discussed about developing the Mymensingh Town in a comprehensive manner in compliance with the plan which is going to integreate multi-hazard into planning.

Professor Dr. Shamim Mahbubul Haque, Urban and Rural Planning Discipline, Khulna University, said that as an educational town economic activity of Mymensingh town should be increased through bringing the qualitative change in the trade and commerce of the town. The main character of MSDP Project is that it would incorporate different types of disasters into planning. But it would be the solemn responsibilities of the inhabitants of Mymensingh to build up the town according to the plan provisions and to keep hold it by themselves. He added that preparation of plan is not the only task, but implementation is also a huge task for which the civil society has to play a vital role.

Professor Dr. Mustafa Sarwar, Urban and Rural Planning Discipline, Khulna University, said that there is no tradition of developing social relationship and marriage in particular between people of mainland with that of char land. This issue should be considered in preparing plan for Mymensingh. He also said that there is no provision of adequate recreational facilities in Mymensingh. Hence, he requested to make provision in the plan for recreational facilities along the river Brahmaputra in a linear pattern.

Professor Dr. Md. Shakil Akhtar, Urban and Regional Planning department, BUET, said that Planning is not only important, but implementation of the plan also equally important. He asked the inhabitants of Mymensingh that are they willing to pay the cost of development; and if the plan is not implemented, it would be simply a paper work.

4. Concluding Speech by the Chairman

Mr. A. S. M. Arif-ur-Rahman, Joint Secretary (Development), Ministry of Housing and Public Works, and Chairman, MTC, MSDP, said in his concluding speech that waste management of the town is very weak. Presently, vertical expansion of the town is taking place due to the flow of modernization. Since, the town is under potential threat of seismic risk; this risk factor should be considered this due importance in the process of vertical expansion of the town. Incorporating risk of disaster and earthquake risk in particular in preparing land use plan for Mymensingh added a new dimension in preparing land use plan for Bangladesh. He thanked CDMP and UDD for undertaking the time initiative of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in land use planning; and requested heartiest cooperation from the inhabitants of Mymensingh in preparation and implementation of the plan. He closed the session by conveying thanks to all for participating in and making the workshop lively and fruitful.