Although belatedly, the capital’s development authority Rajuk has launched a two-day inspection of high-rise structures, mainly business establishments, to ascertain whether those have been built in accordance with approved designs and in compliance with fire safety rules. We think the drive should have been taken long ago and from now it should be a regular one.
The drive has come only after the devastating fire and loss of lives at the FR Tower in Banani, which is very sad.Actually, this has become a common practice and we do not do our routine work.
After the Nimtoli inferno, people in high positions of power promised immediate shifting of the warehouses storing flammable products. But all were forgotten after the initial repercussion subsided. The same thing was repeated after the Chawkbazar fire. We are waiting to see what is actually going to be done in this respect. The repeated fire incidents at the Gulshan-1 kitchen market and authorities’ role can also be cited as examples.
Why we call it belated is that to see whether approved designs are being followed during construction of buildings is a real-time task but it is found that Rajuk is completely unaware about the matter even after much time has elapsed since buildings raised their heads and hence the need to launch the inspection drive to cover all multi-storey buildings all at a time.
However, it is better late than never. But the question is what Rajuk is going to do with the risky and extremely risky structures. Again, we eagerly wait to see what steps authorities are going to take with these buildings.
It is on record and still fresh in everybody’s memory that this very Rajuk had identified as many as 72,000 buildings that are very likely fall flat in case a powerful earthquake hits the city. But it is also a record that none of the shabby structures have been demolished or retrofitted. Let not the results of Rajuk’s on-going inspection of high-rise buildings suffer the same fate.
It also needs to be mentioned in this connection that problems of high-rise structures is not Dhaka-specific; the inspection drive should therefore be extended to other urban areas as well. And more importantly, such inspection should be carried out without fear or favour right at the time when the buildings are still under construction.