Don’t want a concrete jungle | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 22, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:54 AM, June 22, 2019

Don’t want a concrete jungle

Housing minister says; warns against building code violation in the capital; vows tough action against rule breakers

No one will be allowed to construct buildings without approved design, open spaces, firefighting equipment and garage in the capital, Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim warned yesterday.

Addressing a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU), the minister said the government would not spare any rule violators no matter how influential they were.

“I don’t want the city to become a concrete jungle through corruption and irregu-larities.”

In May, the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha found irregularities in constructing 1,818 buildings. Many building owners are politically and financially so powerful that they did not think they would be served notice, the minister said.

He said they already instructed the Rajuk to take action against them. “We don’t want to keep a single building outside of the law.”

Earlier at a press conference at the secretariat in May, he said around 63 percent of the 1,818 buildings, 10 storeys and higher, lacked fire safety measures.

Of them, only 539 had fire extinguishers, fire alarms, hosepipes, and fire hydrants.

The Rajuk did the survey following the FR Tower fire in Banani claimed at least 25 lives on March 28.

The city development regulator launched a drive with 24 teams to inspect high-rises to see if they had proper fire safety and approvals.

Of the 1,818 buildings, 566 were found to have no emergency fire exits and 721 had faulty emergency exits, the inspection summary said.

Rajuk teams surveyed buildings in 1,528sqkm area of its jurisdiction, meaning there may be more buildings that were built violating rules.

At least 431 building owners, and the authorities of 44 government-owned build-ings failed to produce approval documents, according to the survey.

At least 1,136 buildings had Rajuk approved plans while 207 had approvals from other authorities even though they were within Rajuk’s jurisdiction.

Some 309 buildings were constructed deviating from the approved height and 309 more were using parking space for other purposes, the survey found.

Around 124 residential buildings were being used for commercial purpose.

At yesterday’s press conference, Rezaul said they submitted a redevelopment proposal to the authorities for Old Dhaka and would demolish the faulty buildings or seal those off in other parts of the city.

Responding to a query about the BGMEA building demolition, the minister said they decided to award the work of knocking down the building to the highest bidder. “We won’t allow the bidder to use any method risky for human life.”

Answering to another question about pulling down the Jahaj Bari, a ship-shaped building on Chawk Circular Road famous for its aesthetic value, on Eid-ul-Fitr night by a local lawmaker, the minister said they would not give any approval for con-structing any building at the archeological site.

About the pond of Gandaria DIT plot, which is on deathbed due to grabbing by a local influential, the minister said this was a Rajuk property, but there was a verdict in favour of a local councillor from the Supreme Court. 

He said they sent a letter to the attorney general’s office asking it to file a review petition against the verdict. If necessary, they would lodge a fresh case.

The minister said they would not let anyone construct a market after grabbing the pond.

DRU General Secretary Kabir Ahmed Khan moderated the press conference.

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