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Dhaka Tribune

BGMEA gets 6 months to knock down HQ

Update : 12 Mar 2017, 11:07 PM
The Supreme Court has given Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) six months' time to demolish its headquarters in Hatirjheel, Dhaka. A three-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, issued the order on Sunday morning after hearing the BGMEA's petition seeking three years to move their office from the building and demolish it. At the beginning of the hearing, as BGMEA counsel Kamrul Haque Siddiqui was placing his argument for the petition, the court asked him to present “rational reasons.” “Give us a genuine statement. Do not try to fool the court,” it said. The bench then asked why the BGMEA would not rent a place for a temporary office for now. “Ask the government to rent you two houses in Gulshan… or rent rooms in the Sonargaon or Sheraton Hotel to run your office… spend money,” the court rebuked the petitioners. “The High Court asked you to demolish the building in 2010; the Appellate Division upheld that verdict in June last year. But you did not take any step to demolish the building.” The court also mentioned the detainment of Samsung and Hyundai chiefs on corruption charges in South Korea. “Look at South Korea. There, the heads of Samsung and Hyundai companies were taken into custody [for corruption]. Do you know that?” Terming the BGMEA petition unacceptable, the court said: “We allow the petitioner six months to demolish the illegal building.”
Also Read- SC: BGMEA building must go
Earlier on March 5, the apex court dismissed BGMEA's petition to review its 2016 verdict that the BGMEA Complex was built illegally and therefore must be demolished. The 15-storey building stands on a critical spot in Dhaka, blocking the connection between two large water bodies – Hatirjheel lake and Begunbari canal. In June 2016, the Appellate Division upheld the High Court’s verdict ordering the demolition of the structure when the BGMEA appealed against it. The High Court had issued the verdict in 2010, following its suo moto ruling based on a news report on the issue. It found the building illegal as it was constructed violating the law protecting the country’s wetlands. In an immediate reaction to the Appellate Division's order yesterday, BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman said they would shift their office from the condemned BGMEA Complex as soon as possible. Speaking to reporters at the BGMEA office yesterday, he said: “We respect the court's verdict and are grateful for the six months' time it has given us to relocate our office.” In reply to a question, the BGMEA president said they were working on a quick relocation strategy. He also hinted that the new office would be built in Uttara. However, he kept mum about whether or not the BGMEA would get land from the government, as Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed had said on March 6.
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