Sunday, 4 June, 2023

Siddique Bazar Blast: ‘Queen Tower can be used again thru retrofitting’

It’ll take 6 months to complete the job, says technical committee

Queen Tower at Siddique Bazar in the capital, which was razed by a devastating explosion last week, can be made useable again through retrofitting.

The retrofitting work will be done at night and it will take six months for the job.

During the work from 10:00pm to 6:00am, there will be a 26-foot barricade on the road in front of the tower and so no vehicle can ply the street at that time for safety reason.

The six-member technical committee formed by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) to look into the explosion made the recommendations in its report submitted to the director (administration) of the development authority of Dhaka on Monday.

RAJUK Member (Development) Major (retd) Engineer Shamsuddin Ahmed Chowdhury, also convener of the technical committee, confirmed this to the Daily Sun.

On March 7, a massive explosion rocked at the seven-storey building, also known as Queen Sanitary Market and Café Queen Building, killing at least 23 people and injuring over 100 others.

Two floors of the building also caved in and nine out of 24 columns were damaged in the blast.

RAJUK formed the committee to dig out whether there was any irregularity in constructing the building and whether it could be made useable again through retrofitting or would have to be demolished.

Shamsuddin said they put forward a set of recommendations for making the building useable again through retrofitting.

“If the building is retrofitted after abiding by all the rules, it can be reused. It’ll take about six months for the job. The building can’t be used before that time,” he said.

“The affected beams and columns will have to be repaired quickly to ensure safety of the adjoining buildings and passersby. There’ll be a 26-foot barricade on the road in front of the building during the work at night,” the RAJUK member said, adding that vehicles, including bus, cannot ply the road during that time.

He, however, said there will be no restriction on the movement of vehicles from 6:00am to 10:00pm.

“The building owners will carry out a detailed engineering assessment (DEA) hiring a specialised engineering firm. It may take 45 days to do the work. As per the assessment of the firm, the retrofitting work will have to be done by six months,” Shamsuddin said.

On completion of the work, RAJUK will visit the building and examine the work, he said. “If the work is done satisfactorily, RAJUK will provide DEA and retrofitting completion certificates. Then the building can be used again.”

Prof Dr Mehedi Hasan Ansary and Prof Dr Rakib Ahsan of civil engineering department at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), former Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defence Ali Ahmed Khan and Dr Abdul Latif Helali, director of Urban Resilience Project, are the members of the committee with Authorised Officer of RAJUK’s Zone 5/3 Rangan Mandal being the member secretary.

Police arrested three people, including two owners of the building, in connection with the explosion, which took place likely from accumulated gas.