Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:47:19 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter
BREAKING NEWS:

Regulating the urban anarchy of war-torn Kabul

By
11th-Sep-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

AFP  :
In the alley winding between the earthen walls of Old Kabul, Wakil Mohammad Saddeq insists on honouring his visitors with a cup of tea. "You are the first to offer us help without asking for money!" he says.
Wakil's home is one of thousands of unregulated houses stuffed into the Afghan capital, whose boundaries have long overflowed as refugees fleeing war are added to a surging young population.
Now Kabul authorities are trying to bring order to the snarl of informal housing, as President Ashraf Ghani seeks to equip the city with a cadastre, or land registry, for the first time in its history.
"Here, urbanisation has been guided by conflicts and humanitarian crises," says Koussay Boulaich, head of communication at UN-Habitat, which is running the project in partnership with the Kabul government.
"The only attempt at urban planning dates from the Soviets" in the late 1970s, he notes.
Today, Kabul has more than four million inhabitants. Nearly 40 years of conflict have driven hundreds of thousands of people from rural areas into the shelter of the capital, creating entire new neighbourhoods without plans or records.
The majority of their inhabitants live with no safety net, at the mercy of an overnight eviction.
And the influx shows no sign of slowing down. Since early 2015, cities across Afghanistan including Kabul have received a total of more than 2.5 million people displaced by war.
"Of the 255,000 properties already assessed in Kabul by UN-Habitat, only 15 percent have a valid title deed, 41 percent have documents without legal value and 44 percent have no documents at all," says Boulaich.
Most of the fragile houses that tumble up the dusty foothills surrounding Kabul are unregulated. Many are built of mud and lack electricity and running water.
But informal housing also encompasses ancient houses such as Wakil's, and the opulent, expensive villas on clean, paved streets in Kabul's wealthy areas.
In the absence of any owner, residents who can prove they have been in a property for at least 15 years are granted a certificate of occupation.
To find owners, the UN-Habitat team first checks with the municipality and its archives, then with neighbours, explains Sayed Sadullah Wahab, coordinator for the "City for All" programme.
If no owner is found, they post a certificate of occupancy that is valid for five years at the local mosque.
"After five years, if nobody claims it the tenant will get the full property," he said.
Once the neighbours are questioned, any existing owner usually pops up within days, even if he is as far away as the United States or Germany, he adds.
"The neighbours call him," he explains with a smile.
AFP accompanied Wahab's team of investigators to another house. Salim Ahmad, the owner, was killed last year by the Taliban, so it is his father-in-law who comes to justify the family's right to the land.
But their acquisition has never been validated, and titles laminated with care have no legal value.
The UN-Habitat team records the documents, the electricity bills, the identity of the occupants, and takes measurements of the land and the house. This data will be used to establish the occupancy certificate and the amount of house tax, or safayi.
President Ghani has already distributed the first certificates in Kabul, as well as in the western city of Herat and the eastern city of Jalalabad.
For the first time in Afghanistan's history they are being awarded to women as well as men. Currently, the UN says, women account for just five percent of the recognised landowners in the country.
UN-Habitat has 1,200 employees on the project and a budget of $63 million until 2020, funded by the European Union and the US development agency, USAID.
After so many years of conflict and lawlessness, the project is encountering challenges from residents who do not trust that paying safayi will benefit them, says Hellay Ishaqzai, 25, one of the team's investigators.
However, an awareness campaign to illustrate how the funds are being used in each neighbourhood is paying off.
Through it, women, the elderly, even children can vote for the money to be used in different ways, such as maintaining roads or schools.
The programme will also see the confusing mass of thoroughfares clearly named, an innovation set to revolutionise navigation in a city where most directions are given by way of landmarks: behind the supermarket, second right after the mosque, left of the blue door, and so on.
Wahab says that $1.4 million has been collected since November.
Back in Kabul's old quarter, Saddeq's family have paid their sayafi -- 800 afghanis, or $12 -- for the first time in 90 years. He rejoiced in the payment. "They will come and clean our streets, they will remove the dirty water, and we also wish to have a clinic," he says hopefully.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Football »

Northern Ireland's Corry Evans (left) goes on to score against Austria during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Northern Ireland and Austria at Windsor Park in Belfast on Sunday.


International »

HK democracy leaders pleaded not guilty in Umbrella movement trial


AFP :Three leading Hong Kong democracy campaigners pleaded not guilty on Monday to public nuisance charges over their involvement in massive rallies calling for political reform, as room for opposition in the semi-autonomous city shrinks under an assertive China.The pioneering trio are among nine activists all facing public nuisance charges ...

City »

Bangladesh Army Chief Aziz Ahmed inspcting parade on occasion of endorsing regimental colour to Adhoc 11 Bangladesh Infantry Regiment (Machanised ) at CMP Center and School Parade Ground in Savar Cantonment yesterday.


Cricket »

BCB President Nazmul Hassan assumes rotating ACC Presidency


President of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Nazmul Hassan Papon MP assumed the post of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President for a two- year term at its Annual General Meeting held in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Saturday.Nazmul Hassan Papon is the 3rd ACC President from Bangladesh following in the ...

Cricket »

England win second Test against Sri Lanka to seal series


AFP, Kandy :Jack Leach's first five-wicket haul clinched an overwhelming win for England in the second Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday that sealed the series with a match to go.England needed just 30 minutes on the fifth day to take the final three wickets with Leach fittingly getting last ...

Editorial »

US-China trade war : An opportunity for BD to expand businesses and attract FDI


THE ongoing trade war between the US and China has created a better opportunity for Bangladesh, especially for garment sectors. The exporters have been receiving a greater number of work orders from both China and the US. The current trade war has opened an opportune moment for us (Bangladesh) as ...

International »

Sri Lankan President seeks talks to end power struggle


AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday called crucial talks with political leaders in a bid to end a power struggle with the prime minister he sacked last month.The Indian Ocean nation has been paralysed since October 26 when Sirisena deposed Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier and replaced him ...

International »

No ‘final conclusion’ on Khashoggi killing, say US


AFP, Washington  :The US government has not reached a final conclusion over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the State Department said Saturday following reports that the CIA had held the Saudi Crown Prince responsible."Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate," State Department spokeswoman ...

Entertainment »

What Kriti Sanon is learning for her next movie?


Actress Kriti Sanon who has her hands filled currently with multiple projects has started taking Marathi lessons for her upcoming next. The actress who is currently shooting for Housefull 4 has already begun prep for her next, Panipat. As Kriti will be seen essaying the role of a Maratha queen ...

Entertainment »

IFFI to pay tributes to Sridevi, Shashi Kapoor and others


Actor Sridevi, who died unexpectedly earlier this year, will be posthumously honoured at the 49th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Sridevi, who had an illustrious career spanning over four decades, died at the age of 55 due to accidental drowning in Dubai earlier this year. The actor ...

Campus Life »

DIU Chairman gets honorary doctorate


Campus Report :In recognition of his vision to digital transformation of society, skill management to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship in every youth, and social contribution to destitute children through Daffodil Institute of Social Sciences (DISS) in association with Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, India, the management of ...

Business & Economy »

Mohammad Nawaz, Director of South Bangla Agriculture & Commerce (SBAC) Bank Ltd, inaugurating its 66th branch at Abdullahpur in South Keranigonj of Dhaka on Sunday. Md. Golam Faruque, Managing Director of the bank presided over the ceremony. DMD Tariqul Islam Chowdhury, Company Secretary Md. Mokaddes Ali and Branch Manager Salil Kumar Dutta were present.


Football »

Neymar penalty punishes Uruguay in feisty friendly


Neymar kept his cool to score the controversial penalty that fired Brazil to a 1-0 win over Uruguay in a full-blooded friendly on Friday.Brazil captain Neymar was subjected to some ferocious fouls from Uruguay as the clash between the South American rivals boiled over at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.But the Paris ...

Cricket »

Shakib returns as BCB announces squad for 1st Test against WI


The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Saturday announced the squad for the first Test of two-match series against the West Indies (WI) with ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returned to the squad.Another big-name inclusion in the squad is Soumya Sarkar, whose last Test appearance came on the tour of South ...

Editorial »

Pro-people police is the demand of time


THE Police Investigation Bureau (PIB) has unveiled the mystery behind a spine-chilling crime where a middle-aged woman passenger was killed inside a running bus at Ashulia in the outskirts of Dhaka city. It took hardly seven days for them to crack the case. Police have already arrested the murderers along ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news