Rajuk Zone 5 Director Shah Alom Chowdhury said the inspection team did not have the power to close buildings
After the deadly fire at FR Tower in Banani, which killed 26 people on March 28, Dhaka development authority Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) has begun drives to find buildings that are in violation of the building code and safety regulations.
According to a Rajuk official, a total 24 teams from the development authority began drives in eight zones of Dhaka on Monday morning.
The teams are inspecting buildings that are over 10-storeys tall and will examine 14 different risk factors, including the presence or absence of properly installed fire escapes.
Rajuk Zone 2 (Uttara, Tongi and Gazipur) Director Abdul Matin said three teams from his zone have been collecting information about high-rise buildings since the morning.
“Each team has targeted to inspect 10 buildings per day, and the inspection reports will be submitted to the Rajuk chairman after seven days,” he added.
Abdul Matin further said the Rajuk chairman would issue warnings to owners of buildings that were deemed to be risky, in violation of the Bangladesh National Building Code or the Rajuk approved design, after inspecting the reports.
Rumours of Rangs Fortune Square closure
On Monday morning, a Rajuk team from Zone 5 - which covers Dhanmondi and Lalbagh - conducted drives in the Dhanmondi area, and Rangs Fortune Square was among the buildings inspected.
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During the inspection, a rumour spread that the Rajuk team had ordered the closure of Rangs Fortune Square due to the lack of safety certificates. The building houses many food outlets, including Crimson Cup BD, Yum Cha District, Glazed, Jing Ling Restaurant, and Domino’s Pizza.
However, ajuk Zone 5 Director Shah Alom Chowdhury said the inspection team did not have the power to close buildings, and any such decision would be taken by the Rajuk chairman after he examined the inspection reports.
Rajuk shouldering blame for not conducting regular inspections
Asking to remain anonymous, a high official of Rajuk told the Dhaka Tribune the development authority has been widely blamed for not conducting regular safety inspections in the wake of the fire at FR Tower.
“Rajuk has been instructed by high authorities of the government to conduct regular safety inspections, and also to identify buildings which were constructed violating the approved design and building codes,” he added.
According to Rajuk officials, each inspection team includes an authorized officer, assistant authorized officer, and zone chief building inspector, among other officials.
A team from Rajuk Zone 6 - which covers Motijheel and Vulta – conducted drives at Al Arafa and IFIC Bank Tower in Motijheel in the morning. The team was led by Zone 6 Director Khandaker Oliur Rahman.
The Zone 6 director said the drives are being conducted under instruction from the minister of Housing and Public Works.
“We are inspecting the buildings and collecting information on fire safety and building code compliance, as well as for risk assessment,” he added.
Zone 1 (Ashulia, Dhamsona) Director Abdul Motin, Zone 2 (Uttara, Tongi and Gazipur) Authorized Officer Ashraful Islam, Zone 3 (Savar and Mirpur) Director Muhammad Khairuzzaman, Zone 4 (Gulsan, Banani, Mohakhali and Purbachal) Director Mohammad Mamun Mia, Zone 7 (Keraniganj) Director Ananda Kumar Biswas, and Zone 8 (Demra, Narayanganj and Sonargaon) authorized officer Makid Ehsan are among the Rajuk officials leading inspection teams during the drives.