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Dhaka Tribune

Bangabazar traders did not pay heed to repeated warnings, state minister tells parliament

The government could not demolish the market and build a new one due to a court order, the state minister for disaster management and relief says

Update : 06 Apr 2023, 08:10 PM

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman on Thursday said the Shop Owners Association of Bangabazar did not take any action despite receiving warning notices 10 times about the risk of a fire at the market.

He said this in parliament while speaking on this issue under Section 300 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.

He said the government also could not evict or demolish the market due to a court stay order in this regard.

The state minister said in 1985, Dhaka City Corporation got about 1.697 acres of Bangbazar Market land from Bangladesh Railway. In 1995, the market association constructed the three-storey Bangabazar Complex at its own expense, he added.

During the tenure of the present government, on August 7, 2016, a consultancy firm was appointed for the construction of a multi-storey building there, said the state minister.

A steel structure multi-storey building with 67,332.53 square feet per floor with 141 car parking facilities and 4,413 shops was approved by the authorities, he said adding that a work order was awarded to the lowest bidder to complete the work from June 2019 to February 2020.

In 2019, the tax office issued a letter to Bangabazar Complex Shop Owners Association to vacate the market within 30 days, said Enamur.

But three cases were filed by the shop owners seeking an injunction and the High Court ordered a suspension which has remained in force to date with repeated extensions.

In the statement, the state minister said since November 2016, the market association has been notified six times through letters and requested to vacate the market as the market is made of old tin and wood, and is in a dilapidated condition, unusable, dangerous and a fire could occur at any time.

"But the traders of the market did not vacate the shops, rather filed a case against the city corporation. Due to the court order, it was not possible for the Dhaka South City Corporation to demolish or evict the market," Enamur said.

He also said that the Fire Service and Civil Defence declared it dangerous in April 2019 and warned by hanging banners in the market.

"Though the trade association was informed by issuing repeated notices about fire risks and meeting with them, they did not take any action on the matter.”

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