The boundary protection in the deep pit of an under-construction 12-storey twin tower caved in at the capital's Sonargaon intersection yesterday morning, leaving the adjacent Sundarban Hotel at the risk of collapse.
Three construction firms are building the National Bank Limited Twin Tower at the site. They dug a 50-feet-deep pit there to build four basements.
Fifty guests were evacuated from the six-storey hotel on instructions of the fire service department, said Wazed Ali, general manager of the hotel.
A stretch of the footpath along the CR Dutt Road, some makeshift roadside shops and a portion of the hotel's foundation soil subsided due to the collapse. An electric pole fell on the road.
It also damaged the underground gas, water and sewer pipes, forcing the authorities to cut the connections, including that of electricity.
Wajed said they had alerted the site engineer a month ago about some cracks in the boundary protection, but the engineer didn't pay heed to them.
He filed a general diary with Kalabagan Police Station yesterday.
Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, director general of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said the subsidence put the hotel in an imminent danger of collapse. “So we had to immediately strengthen the damaged piling with sand bags.”
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq, his counterpart in Dhaka south Sayeed Khokon and local lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh visited the spot.
Annisul instructed the authorities to form a joint coordination committee, led by the DNCC chief engineer, to address the immediate safety concerns.
FINGER POINTED AT RAJUK
Architect Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa), blamed deep excavation along the boundary and road, construction of the buildings on an earth-filled marshland and poor oversight by the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) for the dangerous collapse.
“It's the duty of Rajuk to monitor constructions of buildings. There is no doubt that Rajuk had been careless about the construction work,” said Khokon, mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation.
Four people died in a similar subsidence during the construction of another building on a marshland to the south of Sundarban Hotel, he told this newspaper.
The mayor was critical of the construction firms for not ensuring safety measures at the site.
Lawmaker Taposh echoed the views of Khokon.
The National Bank Limited (NBL) in December 2013 obtained approval from the Rajuk for building the high-rises on a 64-katha plot. It hired Korean firms Heerim, Donga and local MS Construction for the job.
Abdur Rahman, acting chairman and a board member of Rajuk, said the hotel survived the subsidence probably because of its strongly-built foundation.
“The boundary protection of the under-construction building collapsed due to the weakness in its structural design and inappropriate piling,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammad Shamim Iqbal, Rajuk member for development, said he was not aware if the developer made the mandatory declaration to Rajuk before starting the construction work.
Shamsul Huda Khan, managing director of NBL, said contractors had been tasked with the construction of the buildings.
bank is not responsible for the accident,” he told The Daily Star.
Md Salah Uddin, proprietor of MS Construction, said seepage of water through the underground sewer and water supply lines loosened the soil at the site which resulted in the subsidence.