BGMEA seeks time as 'no alternative found'

The 15-storey Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) office complex constructed illegally in Dhaka's Begunbari canal and Hatirjheel lake. File photo

With only one day to go before the end of the Supreme Court's six-month deadline on starting the demolition of BGMEA's building in the capital, the association yesterday said it was seeking another year to tear down the 15-storey structure.

“Following the court verdict, we sought to rent a house in Dhaka,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

“But we did not find a structure where nearly 300 employees can be accommodated and a huge number of activities run smoothly,” he told a press briefing at the BGMEA office.

On March 12, the SC ordered to start the demolition within six months, meaning by September 12. BGMEA sought the one-year extension on August 23.

Meanwhile, it continues to use the building as its office. It is constructing a new one in Uttara.

Rahman said the immensity of the office setup and the important tasks carried out from there for the country's garment sector necessitated a big space for temporary accommodation and finding it was not an easy task. “We respect the court's verdict. But we have sought time to relocate,” said Rahman. Giving the deadline, the SC dismissed a petition seeking review of its judgement upholding an April 2011 High Court order to knock down the structure illegally built in the capital's Begunbari canal and Hatirjheel lake.

The High Court verdict had ordered the government to bulldoze the building within three months, saying it was built on land acquired through forgery and filled with earth illegally. The Appellate Division initially stayed the HC verdict following a BGMEA petition.

A four-member Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed a short verdict on June 2 last year dismissing the BGMEA appeal and upholding the HC order.

The SC released the full text of the verdict on November 8 ordering to immediately demolish the structure at its own cost.


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