BGMEA Building Demolition: SC annoyed by frequent pleas for time
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association will submit an undertaking today to the Supreme Court to get a further one-year extension of the deadline for demolishing its building in the capital's Hatirjheel area.
The BGMEA made the decision yesterday hours after the apex court asked it to do so expressing serious discontent over its repeated pleas for time extension.
“We have decided to submit an undertaking tomorrow [today] to the apex court for time extension as it will take another year to complete construction of the new BGMEA building in the city's Uttara,” BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman told journalists after an emergency board meeting at its office.
Earlier in the morning, a four-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain held proceedings on the BGMEA's petition filed on March 4 for extending the deadline for the third time.
The SC bench asked the BGMEA to submit an undertaking that it will not seek further extension of deadline for demolishing its building built illegally in the heart of Begunbari canal in Hatirjheel area.
The court had already extended the deadline twice -- for six months in March 12 last year, and then for seven months in October. The second deadline is set to expire on April 12.
During yesterday's proceedings, the SC expressed displeasure at the counsel for the BGMEA, Quamrul Haque Siddiqui, for seeking time extension over and over again.
The chief justice said, “You are playing with the Supreme Court order. This is so unfortunate. You should feel uneasy before approaching this court on this issue. We feel embarrassed.
“It cannot happen that you will appear before this court for your client and damage this court's reputation. The court order will not be implemented if you are given more time,” he noted.
The SC said it will pass an order on the BGMEA's time petition after the submission of the undertaking.
The court was scheduled to pass an order on the petition yesterday.
Earlier on June 2, 2016, the SC upheld a 2011 High Court verdict that ordered demolition of the 15-storey BGMEA building.
The HC ordered the BGMEA authorities to demolish the building within three months, saying it was built on a land acquired through forgery, and that a part of the Begunbari canal was illegally filled with earth for constructing it.
BGMEA PRESIDENT'S BRIEFING
Siddiqur said the BGMEA will complete three floors of its proposed 15-storey building in Uttara on a priority basis so that it can shift its office there within a year.
Replying to a query, the BGMEA president said only piling and basement work has been completed so far as it took a lot of time to get approval for the building's construction from government agencies, including the Department of Environment, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
The BGMEA started constructing the building in November last year after purchasing a 5.5-bigha plot from the government for Tk 11 crore.
He said the BGMEA will compensate those who purchased space in the existing building, but it will not give them the current market price for the space. They will get the amount they had paid for the space in 2006.
The BGMEA sold more than 166,000 square feet of space to different organisations in its building in Hatirjheel for Tk 5,000 per square foot. Around 40 offices of different organisations, including banks, are now housed in the 15-storey building.
Siddiqur, however, said that if the existing clients wish to buy space in the new BGMEA building, they would be given priority. The money they had paid around 12 years back will then be deducted from the price of the space in the new building (Tk 10,000 per square foot), and they will need to pay the remaining amount.