These buildings have defective designs and are more vulnerable to accidents
Amid growing concern about lack of fire safety in high-rise buildings across the country, owners and developers in Bandarban continue to construct multi-storey buildings, one after another, violating building codes and other regulations set by the government.
In most cases, owners are not getting their building plans and designs approved by the municipality, district administration or Fire Service authorities which is a pre-requisite.
Though these buildings have defective designs and are more vulnerable to accidents, local administration are not being able to take action against the building owners due to legal complications.
According to sources, Kopil Properties and Builders Limited is constructing a modern multi-storey new market on 17,424 sq ft of land next to the stadium of Bandarban district town after the builders had bought the property from Islamic Centre of Education there.
The construction of the high-rise building has not been approved yet. But heavy machineries, for piling works, have been set up in the site which is enclosed by tin walls. Labourers are working day and night inside the closed construction site. Entry is restricted for general public.
Commenting on the matter, Shekhor Das, municipal commissioner of ward 6, said: "I do not understand how did they have begun the construction work without any sort of approval."
It was also known that following two notices, signed by Mong Sukhyi Marma, executive engineer of the municipality, police suspended the construction work of that building two times earlier on March 27 and April 3.
However, the developer managed to resume work with its administrative connections and influence of power.
Local sportsmen have expressed concern as the multi-storey market is being constructed next to the stadium.
When asked, Nasir Uddin, caretaker of the construction site, said they have permission for constructing the building but could not show any such documents to this Dhaka Tribune correspondent.
A Fire Service inspector, requesting anonymity, said: "Building owners are not following the law. The owners have to submit their design to Fire Service office after getting approval from municipality. Owners can move for construction work only if Fire Service officials approve the design. But in this case, the new market owner did not feel the need for Fire Service approval."
When contacted, market owner Jashim could not be reached over phone for comment.
According to Public Works Department sources, officials of Bandarban municipality's city development board approves multi-storey building designs after scrutiny.
Moreover, district's national building code committee make such approval for buildings in upazila or union levels. However, the situation is quite opposite in Bandarban where influential people begin construction works without sanction.
When asked, Municipal Mayor Islam Baby said: " Kopil Properties and Builders Limited had submitted documents but did not receive permission."
It is to be noted that the organic compounds in the soil of Bandarban have made the area vulnerable to earthquake. Consequently, municipal authorities do not permit construction of above seven-storey buildings in the three hill districts of the country including Bandarban.