All in scary conditions
Building and fire safety conditions in all the 1,818 high rises under Rajuk’s jurisdiction are scary, its chairman Md Abdur Rahman said yesterday.
He made the comment while replying to a query on the sidelines of a daylong workshop on children-friendly urban plan at the headquarters of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), the capital’s development regulator.
Following the March 28 deadly fire at FR Tower in Banani, which left at least 27 people dead, Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim directed Rajuk to launch an inspection on the safety status of the city’s high rises.
At this, 24 teams from Rajuk examined the buildings’ construction plans and fire safety measures in a total of 1,528sqkm areas in the first two weeks of last month, said Abdur.
Rajuk considers a 10-storey building or higher to be a high rise.
Abdur said, “I can only say that the findings [of the inspections] are frightening … I, myself, was present during a dozen inspections.”
He declined to elaborate, but said the details would be made public later by the public works minister at a press conference, with the prime minister’s consent.
Wishing anonymity, several authorised Rajuk officers echoed Abdur’s view on the high-rise buildings.
They said many owners could not produce approved building plans during the inspection.
While handing out the instruction, the minister had said that if necessary, high-rises found to have been built in violation of approved plan, building code and fire safety provisions would be sealed off.
The head of an agency under the ministry, wishing not to be named, however, told The Daily Star that shutting down such buildings would be difficult as many of the owners are powerful people having political clout and money.
“Be it commercial or residential blocs, owners of many highrises are wealthy businessmen who exercise influence on the government,” he said.
Asked about the solutions, he suggested that the government should urgently retrofit high-rise buildings to ensure that no life perishes during a fire or an earthquake.
Besides, the government should impose hefty tax on the floors built beyond the approval, he added.