Prothom Alo reports, a portion from the tenth-storey roof of the under-construction building of atomic energy commission under the science and technology ministry, at Ganakbari area in Savar’s Ashulia collapsed in the afternoon of 10 March. The incident left 16 construction workers injured, three of whom are in critical condition.
The area in Savar where the building is being constructed falls under Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) Zone-1 and is included in the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) of Dhaka metropolitan, prepared by RAJUK.
According to existing national building code, there’s an obligation of getting RAJUK’s approval to construct a building under DAP area.
As an exception only the architecture department has the right to approve construction of a building. The atomic energy commission however didn’t find it necessary to get approval from anyone for constructing the building. When a government agency itself constructs a building without approval like this, what’s happening in case of privately owned buildings can easily be assumed.
On the day after the accident, science and technology minister Yeafesh Osman went to see the building. He did acknowledge that there was some carelessness in the building construction. He also advised to make sure that there are no such accidents in future. But there remains a big question whether the construction is going on maintaining all qualities, as it is being constructed flouting the building code in the beginning.
While project director’s narrative is that the building does have an approval and their own directors are monitoring the construction, concerned people from RAJUK and architecture department have clearly said that the atomic energy commission didn’t take their approval.
Then where did they get this approval from? When a government agency constructs a building disrespecting the existing law, it undoubtedly sets up a bad example. It drives common citizens towards defying the law.
After the roof of an under-construction building has collapsed, RAJUK is saying that they haven’t given any approval for the building construction. The question is that the unapproved building was being constructed right under RAJUK’s nose for the last seven years, then why didn’t they take any steps before.
Whether it’s a government building or a private one, it is RAJUK’s responsibility to monitor if the building code’s being ignored or not. RAJUK must move away from setting this bad example of being active after there’s an accident.
If a building’s constructed without any approval it must be considered illegal. And if the code’s breached even after taking approval, concerned people or organisation have to be brought to book.
Is the atomic energy commission beyond accountability simply for being a government agency? Since RAJUK didn’t approve it, the building’s illegal. Now the only thing left to see is that what steps do they take against this illegal building?