In the span of two days, reports in this paper have covered instances of multi-storey buildings being constructed in Rajshahi city. In both cases, the under-construction buildings subsided and in one instance caused damage to a neighbouring building. We are relieved to know that no one was injured in these incidents of gross negligence. Obviously, the Rajshahi Development Authority (RDA) has a lot to answer for. How can someone begin construction of a 24-storey building based on verbal approval from RDA? Who would have taken responsibility had there been any casualties?
We cover these instances on almost a daily basis because the focus of the media is on the major urban centres like Dhaka and Chittagong. What the incidents in Rajshahi tell us is that the situation in other cities is just as bad. Rather it is worse because these things do not get as much attention as they do in bigger cities. Urbanisation in our country is a fact of life. And economic activity in the country is largely based in and around cities and hence it is imperative that we equip city corporations and relevant departments with requisite manpower and administrative authority to make sure that the building codes are followed, and their breach is dealt with severely. Turning a blind eye to these problems is a prescription for disaster and we do not want to go that way because lives are at stake.