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BGMEA’s illegal building comes down today

Published : 21 Jan 2020 09:19 PM | Updated : 05 Sep 2020 12:59 AM

After a long wait , Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim is going to inaugurate the demolition of the much-talked-about, illegal BGMEA Bhaban, at Hatirjheel in the capital on Wednesday.
Talking to reporters, Nasrullah Khan, manager of the Four Star Enterprise, which is the contactor for the demotion works, confirmed on Tuesday.
He said, there is no uncertainty over the beginning of the demolition of the BGMEA Bhaban.
Earlier on Tuesday, a contract was signed between the Housing and Public Works Ministry and the Four Star Enterprise.
The demolition will begin at around 10 am Wednesday.
Nine years ago, the High Court passed an order to demolish the BGMEA Bhaban at Hatirjheel in the capital. But the illegal building was still there year after year.
Though the building had been evacuated and sealed off last year, no one actually knew, before Tuesday, when the court order would be finally carried out.
According to a Rajuk source, a tender was called last year to demolish the building and an organization was also given responsibility. But the complexity of the condition stopped the activities. After losing the legal battle, the BGMEA evacuated the building, and set up a new office in Uttara. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated it on April 3 last year.
On April 16, 2019, the BGMEA building was evacuated and the belongings of different companies were removed. On the same day, the Rajuk officials locked the main gate after realizing control of the building. After the notice of demolition of the building, five contractor companies submitted tenders. Salaam & Brothers was finalized as the highest bidder (Tk 1 crore 70 lakhs). However, the company moved away at the last minute.

Later, Forrester Enterprise was finalized as the second highest bidder (Tk 1 crore 55 lakh 70 thousand). It was said that all the goods in the building would be owned by the contractor. But after the removal of the elevator, AC and other belongings from the building, new problems arose.

As the building has no valuables, the contractor has demanded that the bid should be reduced. Rajuk informed them that it was not possible to reduce the bid, but will again call for tender if necessary. Though Rajuk did not take into account the demands of the company, some of the tender conditions were relaxed. But no decision was finalized and 2019 passed.

In 1998, the then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the BGMEA building. After the construction was completed, the building was inaugurated on 8 October, 2006 at which time erstwhile Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia inaugurated it. From then on, it was used as headquarters of the BGMEA, the Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

However, various environmental organisations initially complained that without the permission of the ministry, the BGMEA building was constructed in violation of open space, park and natural water reservoir Conservation Act, 2000. When such news came to the media, a bench of the High Court on October 3rd, 2010 passed the rule on its own accord.

After the final hearing, the High Court on April 7 declared the BGMEA building illegal. The BGMEA was asked to demolish the building within 90 days with its own financing. Two years later, on March 19th, 2013 a 69 page judgment of the High Court was published.
As part of its move to dismantle the building, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkah (RAJUK) sealed off the BGMEA complex last year.