Land shortage in Gulshan, Baridhara
Staff Correspondent: The government plans to expand the diplomatic zone to Purbachal in Dhaka due to a shortage of land in Gulshan and Baridhara, according to Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.
Responding to a question in parliament yesterday, the minister said, “Some of the embassies and foreign missions need land in Baridhara diplomatic zone to move all of their offices there. But the shortage of land in the area is an important factor in this regard.
“We are now coordinating with the authorities, including RAJUK and Ministry of Housing and Public Works over the matter.”
Currently, 10 foreign embassies have applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for plots to set up their missions. In particular, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Oman, Kuwait, Myanmar and Afghanistan have requested for plots since opening their diplomatic missions in Bangladesh.
Moreover, there are indications that those among the 50 foreign missions in Dhaka that are not using the allocated or purchased plots, may also be interested in acquiring more land, said Momen.
The government has already made plans to set up a diplomatic zone in Purbachal, according to RAJUK.
“Different development programmes are ongoing in Dhaka to expand the city. On the other hand, the current diplomatic zones, Gulshan and Baridhara, do not have enough land to meet the demand. Under the circumstances, the government may need to establish a specific diplomatic zone in Purbachal,” the minister said.
Hungary has sought approval from Bangladesh to open a consular office in the country, according to Momen. Their application is currently being processed, while discussions are also underway regarding the establishment of a South African embassy in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh missions across the world lack a legal desk or centre to provide legal aid to the expatriate workers, the minister said in reply to a question asked by Dhaka-11 MP AKM Rahmatullah. The high commissions, however, provide all types of legal assistance to the migrant Bangladeshis in case of any unexpected problems, he added.
The foreign ministry has a separate budget code to provide legal assistance to people, which has been allocated Tk 81 million for the fiscal year 2020-21.
“The ministry provides the fund to the Bangladesh missions abroad in cases where they need to help Bangladeshi nationals in jail or facing other problems. For example, recently the ministry has provided help to Bangladeshis detained in Kolkata and Assam in India.”