Sunday, April 14, 2024

90 pc of buildings in Dhaka’s outskirts unauthorised

Nearly 90 per cent of the buildings in the outskirts of the capital, including Savar, have been built illegally or without authorization from the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkhya (RAJUK), said sources in the country’s capital development authority. The collapse of the eight-storied Rana Plaza in Savar on Wednesday, which claimed over 200 lives and injured around 2,000, has rung alarm bells. All unauthorized buildings should be identified immediately, the authorities feel, before any further mishap occurs.
“Eighty to 90 per cent of the buildings outside the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) area have been constructed without authorization from RAJUK,” said Sk Abdul Mannan, member (planning) of RAJUK.
Talking to The Independent, he said after the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) was approved in 2010, a large portion of Dhaka, Narayanganj and Gazipur districts, particularly Savar, Ashulia and Tongi, came under the purview of RAJUK.
Under the RAJUK rules, he said, “It is mandatory to take RAJUK’s approval to construct any building in the city and the DAP areas, but the owners of most of the buildings built in the suburbs of the capital did not obtain authorization.”
The RAJUK official said they have started serving notices to the owners of the unauthorized buildings, with copies to
the other authorities concerned, including the respective city corporations or pourasabhas, police stations and the authorities which supply power, gas and water.
Now, he said, the number of applications for authorization from RAJUK for constructing buildings has increased as builders are not allowed to take bank loans without RAJUK’s approval.
Sk Mannan said RAJUK started its development works on the outskirts of the city after the DAP was approved.
“Local government authorities were authorized to approve designs and plans for construction of buildings outside the DCC before the DAP was approved, but now they cannot do it lawfully,” he explained.
RAJUK officials, however, said the people in the suburbs were facing a dilemma about taking authorization from RAJUK as the city corporation and pourasabha authorities want to retain the authority to give designs and plans for construction of buildings, as they had done earlier.
He conceded that RAJUK was unable to establish its full authority over the outskirts of the city as it lacks the necessary manpower.
RAJUK executive magistrate Rokon-Ud-Dowla also said most of buildings have been constructed in the outskirts of the city in violation of the building code and without authorization from RAJUK.
He alleged that they are obstructed by city corporation and pourasabha authorities when they carry out eviction drives and supervise construction of buildings in the outskirts of the capital.
Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) chief executive officer ABM Aminullah Nuri said the government should strengthen the capacity of city corporations and pourasabhas, providing them the necessary manpower, to deal with the process of giving approvals for construction of buildings in their respective areas and to curb violations of the building code during their construction.
Pointing out the poor manpower base of RAJUK, he questioned as to how RAJUK could cover all the areas that have been brought under it after the DAP was approved in 2010.
Nuri said the NCC has identified 58 buildings, which have been built with extensions in violation of the corporation’s permissions. “We will demolish the extended parts of those buildings,” he said.
He could not state the number of buildings that has been built in Narayanganj city without approval from the authorities. The NCC official, however, said that they have recently formed a team to identify unauthorized buildings in the city.
Experts said most of the building owners, who did not take approval from RAJUK, used substandard materials to construct their buildings and in most cases they built high-rise buildings on roads, canals, wetlands and khas lands without conducting soil tests and without piling.
Following the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, fear has gripped the people of Chittagong as well, since around 100 high-rises and multi-storied buildings are in an extremely risky state in the port city. Several thousand residents of these buildings are living in extremely risky conditions.
The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) and other authorities are yet to take any steps in this regard. Several buildings in the port city have tilted in the last few years.
The CCC had earlier decided to immediately demolish a total of 60 risky buildings during the regime of the caretaker government in 2007. However, these risky buildings are yet to be demolished as influential quarters have exerted pressure on the authorities. Again, some of the building owners have filed writ cases against the CCC, claiming that the decision to demolish the buildings was illegal. Following stay orders by the court, the CCC could not demolish some of the buildings, sources said.
Professor Dr Mohammed Jahangir Alam, vice chancellor (VC) of Chittagong University of Science and Technology (CUET) and city planner, said, “Most of the buildings in the port city lack quake-proof measures and other precautionary arrangements
for dealing with natural
disasters.”
“As a result, around 60 lakh city dwellers are currently facing a high risk of natural disasters such as massive earthquakes, as Chittagong and adjoining areas, including Cox’s Bazar and three hill districts — Rangamati, Banderban and Khagrachari, belong to a quake-prone zone,” he added.
The CDA has identified 400 buildings as illegal. Of these, 60 were highly risky for residents as these have become very old and have been constructed illegally. The risky buildings that have been identified are mainly located in the old parts of Ghat Farhadbegh, Chaktai, Khatunganj, Patharghata, Firingibazar, Korbanigonj, Andarkilla, Chandanpura and Ambagan in the port city.
CCC mayor Alhaj M Manjur Alam Manju said, “The CDA identified the illegal and risky buildings and sent these to the CCC. However, we cannot demolish the buildings as the owners filed cases against the notices of the CCC and the court issued stay orders in this regard.”
He further said, “The CDA should take necessary action against the violation of government rules and the building code. However, the CDA referred the matter to the CCC. The risky buildings in the port city should be demolished to make the city risk-free as far as quakes are concerned.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of students of Kadam Mobarak City Corporation High School were evacuated yesterday as the school building was considered too risky for the students and teachers since its roof was partly damaged. The school authorities suspended classes with immediate effect yesterday while the CCC has decided to shift the school from Cheragi hill area till the building is renovated.
Headmaster Moklesur Rahman said, “We suspended classes as fear gripped the students and teachers. Many parts of the roof of the school building are damaged while the condition of the rest of the roof is not safe. We have informed the CCC and it will take action in this regard.”
Johor Lal Hajari, councillor of Ander Killah ward, said, “The CCC is shifting the school elsewhere.
The classes will be temporarily held at Guljar Begum School till the renovation of the school building is completed.” CCC chief education officer Nurul Islam Nijami said, “The CCC mayor decided to shift the classes of Kadam Mobarak School to Guljar Begum School till the building is renovated or reconstructed.”

Courtesy of The Independent

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