The BGMEA building on the Hatirjheel lake has not been brought down yet as the project is backed by influential people, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan alleged on Tuesday.
"Had the building belonged to me or any other commoner, could it be there for so long?" she asked.
A collective effort from the mass people has dealt them a blow and now they have to demolish the building as per the court's order, Rizwana observed.
She was speaking at a roundtable titled 'Save rivers, water bodies, farmlands, forests and hills' at the National Press Club. Water Rights Forum, an alliance of seven non-government organisations. in association with Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) organised the programme.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Sunday gave the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) seven months time to demolish the buildinh housing its headquarters on the Hatirjheel-Begunbari lake.
The SC also said it is the last chance for the apex trade body in the apparel sector to demolish the illegal structure.
The 16-storey office building of BGMEA was constructed in the middle of the Hatirjheel-Begunbari canal despite concerns from the green activists.
In 2011, the High Court ordered the building to be demolished as it was illegally constructed.
On 2 June 2016, the Appellate Division of the SC upheld a High Court order for demolishing the BGMEA building as it was constructed illegally and described the structure as a “cancer” on the lake.
On 8 November, the 35-page verdict to demolish the BGMEA building was published on the Supreme Court website.
In 12 March this year, the Appellate Division ordered BGMEA to demolish its building in the next six months.
Professor M Shahjahan Mondol of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology said the country lacks good governance, which is leading to rampant grabbing of rivers and lands. It is destroying ecological balance, he added.
Former director general of the Water Resources Planning Organisation M Inamul Huq, Bhabadaha College principal Abdul Motaleb Sardar and Rafiqul Islam from Barisal-based organisation Reach to Unreached presented three papers at the roundtable chaired by Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir. ALRD executive director Shamsul Huda and Nagorik Udyog chief executive Zahir Hossain also spoke at the programme.