No plan, no coordination
Although Rajuk officials had no engineering plan to knock down the much-talked about BGMEA building on the capital's Begunbari canal, they went to the site yesterday heavily equipped with demolition machinery.
The one-year deadline granted by the court for vacating the commercial 15-storey illegal building came to an end on April 12.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) went supposedly to demolish the highrise and mobilised heavy machinery like bulldozers, excavators and loaders early in the morning as part of an apparent high-profile demolition drive.
But Rajuk officials did not do anything. Asked what their technical plan was, Khandakar Oliur Rahman, Rajuk zonal director, who led the demolition team, said “Our preparation is with whatever machinery you see deployed in front of the building and some others, and we have a technical team to do the job.”
“Either Rajuk engineers or foreign experts would be hired or we will seek help from the technical experts of Hatirjheel project to lead the technical team,” he said.
“We will apply a realistic and easy method to do the job.”
As to whether they had decided how to demolish such a huge building, Oliur said, “We have just decided to demolish it.”
Asked the same question, Rajuk Chief Engineer ASM Raihanul Ferdous said they had planned to pull down the building by dismantling the building's column and beams with explosives.
Asked who was going to do that, Ferdous, one of three project directors on behalf of Rajuk of the Hatirjheel project, said some Chinese experts would be brought in for the work.
As to whether he knew who those Chinese experts were and when they would arrive, Ferdous said, “I don't know. The army officials involved in the Hatirjheel development project are supposed to hire them.”
Asked whether they would involve local engineering experts in the demolition work, Ferdous said he did not know that yet.
Contacted, Rajuk's relevant director for development control, Begum Tanjila Khanam, said, “I know nothing about the building demolition scheme. The related file did not go through my office.I came to know about it this morning.”
Rajuk board member for development control Abul Kalam Azad said, “I am not aware of it. The chairman may know everything. I don't know how it all is going ahead.
“I do not know how the decision has been taken or what method [will be used] to pull down the building.”
This correspondent could not reach Rajuk Chairman Md Abdur Rahman for comments despite repeated attempts.
Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, a professor of civil engineering at Buet, said controlled demolition could be one method of demolishing the building.
In this method, the entire building collapses within its structure without harming anything outside.
“But for that, we neither have trained experts, equipment nor the technology,” he said.
The other way may be to do it manually. “But in any case, a comprehensive engineering demolition plan must be at hand to avert any loss of life and property,” he said.
Ansary, however, suggested that given the financial value of the building it could also be used for a hospital or dormitory for readymade garments workers' welfare.