Sundarban Hotel risky, vacated fearing collapse
Sundarban Hotel in Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar was evacuated fearing collapse after a boundary wall and part of its basement sank to the ground this morning.
A shore piling of an adjacent under-construction site failed causing a part of a bordering lane, that also is on the edge of the hotel, to cave in around 7:20am, fire fighters said.
The road collapse took with itself a portion of the hotel’s boundary wall and a part of its basement.
There were a total of 50 guests inside the hotel, who have been moved away, general manager of the hotel, Wajed Ali, told reporters. The road that caved in today causing the boundary wall of the hotel to collapse, had developed cracks for a while now, he complained.
The adjacent under-construction site belongs to National Bank where a 13-storey complex was set to be built with a three-storied basement right in the heart of capital city Dhaka.
Previously, The Daily Star ran photos of the construction site violating rules by dumping soil and filling up the adjacent road that connects Karwan Bazar to Hatirpool.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon blamed city planners Rajuk for the incident and blasted them for their “carelessness” while visiting the spot this morning.
“It’s the duty of Rajuk to look after it. There is no doubt that they showed carelessness,” he said adding that it’s regretful that none of Rajuk officer was present at the accident site.
Sayeed Khokon and local lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh rushed to the spot. They city mayor referred the nearby buildings become risky following the collapse.
Taposh said: “It is necessary to take action against Rajuk official as they did not take any safety measures. If actions were not taken place, such accident will happen again.”
Annisul Huq, mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, visited the site and requested all to refrain from going inside the “risky” hotel premises.
“We need to keep the site safe for everyone. We will call Rajuk officials to discuss what steps will be required to tackle this situation,” he told the reporters who are on the spot.
On the other hand, Rajuk said they will sue the construction firm over the incident. “They are responsible for the incident,” Abdur Rahman, acting chairman of the body said. “We will sue them.”
‘DANGER WAS IMMINENT’
Citing that the road beside the hotel had developed cracks for a while now, hotel’s General Manager Wajed Ali blamed the construction authorities for not taking heed of them.
“Danger was imminent. We notified the site (construction) engineer, but they did not heed the matter. If the matter was dealt with in time, this would not have happened.”
City planner Rajuk’s Authorised Officer Saiful Hannan said the shore piling had collapsed due to the lack of proper iron bracing used for protecting the piling.
A joint meeting of fire brigade, Rajuk and city corporation will be held immediately to address the issue, Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, an engineer with the fire service, said.
Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, an engineer and director general of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said the hotel was in danger as shore piling of the adjacent under-construction site had failed.
Shore piling is meant to protect the edge of the soil, the official said. “The collapse took place due to the poorly-deigned groundwork of the under-construction building.”
The authorities should immediately protect the piling by using huge sand bags, he said.
Saiful Islam, a labour working at the under-construction site, told The Daily Star that the shore piling that collapsed today developed cracks last night and was “making funny noises”.
Salauddin, entrepreneur of the construction site contractor, MS Construction, who had been working on the site for a year, blamed the recent earthquake and rain for the collapse.
“The part that collapsed today had underground sewerage and water lines through them. Recent earthquakes and rain might have created a gap in the piling which did the damage today.”
Police have been at the site since around 7:40am, Mohammad Iqbal, officer-in-charge of Kalabagan Police Station told The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, Sundarban Hotel authorities filed a general diary with Kalabagan Police Station this afternoon.