Construction or sham?
Believe it or not, part of a government-funded building has been constructed using bamboo sticks in place of iron rods.
If not found by some youths, this could have led to a disaster.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of Chuadanga last year got a Tk 2.41 crore fund to build the two-storey Biological Research Centre and Lab in Darshana under Damurhuda upazila.
Joy Construction Ltd of Dhaka is constructing the building.
So far, 65 percent work has been done and the building was scheduled to be handed over to the DAE in June.
Recently, some local youths came to know about some “gross anomalies” in the work.
They visited the building Thursday noon and asked the workers about the materials used in construction of walls and outside louvers (vertical structures at equal intervals creating a pattern to enhance the building's beauty).
The workers refused to say anything while Robiul Hossain, consultant engineer of the project, asked the youths to leave.
“We were sure about the information we got from some local workers earlier about bamboo sticks being used in constructing walls and louvers,” said one of the youths, preferring not to be named.
The youths gathered local people at the site and forced the workers to break a louver. The bamboo sticks became visible.
Locals confined the workers to the building. On information, officials of DAE and local administration, including upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Damurhuda, rushed to the spot.
“We stopped the work and informed the matter to higher authorities,” said UNO Faridur Rahman.
A team led by Ayub Hossain, project consultant for Biological Research Center and Lab, visited the site yesterday. Contacted, Ayub said they ordered breaking all 36 walls and louvers and constructing those again.
“Construction of the main building has rightly been completed. But there have been faults in construction of walls and outside louvers,” he said, adding that they would report the construction firm to higher authorities.
Ali Asgor Tagar, lawmaker of Chuadanga-2, also visited the site. According to sources, he asked the authorities concerned to properly examine the entire work and take action against the construction firm.
DAE Civil Engineer Mahbubur Rahman, who along with a seven-member delegation from Dhaka visited the spot, told The Daily Star that they directed the contractors to knock down all the louvers. “This is a mystery. It's not clear why bamboo was used when only 5kg of iron rod was necessary to construct the louvers.”
He said the DAE director general formed a committee to investigate the matter and the site engineer was suspended over the incident.
Contacted, James Costa, manager of the Joy Construction Ltd, said it happed without their knowledge. “The masons are responsible for this. All the masons have been suspended following the incident,” he told The Daily Star over the phone.
There might have been a conspiracy by some influential locals who were denied contract to supply bricks, iron rods, cement and sand for the project, he said.