Iftekhar Hossain, public relation officer of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works,said in a press briefing on Tuesday
Following years of legal wrangling, the demolition process of the BGMEA Bhaban in Hatirjheel is finally set to get under way on Thursday.
Iftekhar Hossain, public relations officer of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, said at a press briefing on Tuesday that S.M. Rezaul Karim, Minister for Housing and Public Works, was expected to initiate the process at 10am on Thursday.
The demolition process was put on hold in October last year when the RAJUK authorities allowed BGMEA some time for removing its electric sub-station, four lifts and other belongings from the ill-fated building.
The demolition company -- Four Star Enterprise Limited – in November told the media that on April 24, Rajuk invited bids from interested parties for the dismantling of the building and its two-storey basement and for the sale of scraps resultant from the demolition.
The company estimated the cost of demolishing the building, which would commence at its own cost, after making an additional payment of Tk1.55 crore. However, BGMEA was allowed to take all its belongings, thereby breaching the tender document.
Under the terms of the tender, the contracting company will not receive any money for the demolition of the building. After demolishing the building and two basements, it will sell the used goods to recoup their expenses and profits. Against this backdrop, the company demanded a re-estimation of the scrap value of the BGMEA building.
RAJUK's Chief Engineer and Hatirjheel Project Director ASM Raihanul Ferdous told Dhaka Tribune that though there had been some ambiguity over the demolition, the authorities took immediate steps to address the matter and eventually solved the problem.
"Four Star Enterprise Limited will continue the work with a revised valuation of Tk1.27 crore within a six-month period,” he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her first term in office, laid the foundation stone of the BGMEA Building in 1998, while the structure was inaugurated in 2006 by then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
The BGMEA built a 15-storey building with 2.66 lakh square feet of floor space on land belonging to Hatirjheel and sold 1.25 lakh square feet of floor space to different entities, including Dhaka Bank, Exim Bank Ltd and 38 apparel manufacturing companies.
The building was raised without the permission of the housing and public works ministry and in defiance of the rules. The construction was finished in 2006.
In 2011, the High Court issued an order for its demolition, describing the BGMEA building as a tumour in the middle of Hatirjheel canal. It also ordered the government to demolish the structure within 90 days, terming it as ‘a cancerous growth’ eclipsing the capital’s landmark Hatirjheel lake.
The apex court rejected the BGMEA’s appeal against the High Court order on June 2, 2016.
The garment exporters took a long time to demolish the building after the Supreme Court order. The final deadline ended on Apr 12, 2019.
In April, 2018, the BGMEA obtained a third extension of one year to demolish the illegally built structure from the Appellate Division on an undertaking by the organisation not to seek any further extension of time.