RAJUK launches inspection of high-rises today

Md Esaraf Hossain

1 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

In the wake of the deadly fire at FR Tower in the capital, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (RAJUK) will launch inspection of high-rise buildings today to find out whether they were built  with approved design and in compliance with fire safety rules.

Some 24 RAJUK teams will check fire safety systems and designs of the high-rise buildings, mainly business establishments in the capital, housing and public works minister SM Rezaul Karim told newsmen on Sunday. 

RAJUK is going to launch such drive as  most of the city high-rises, including business establishments, shopping malls, educational institutions and even private hospitals do not have necessary fire safety measures, posing risk of deadly accidents.  

During inspection, RAJUK teams  will see whether high-rise buildings were constructed following proper design and RAJUK approval, the minister said at a briefing held at RAJUK auditorium.

“We’ll take action against those who flouted rules  in construction of high-rise buildings. Strict measures will be taken against the rules violators,” he said. 

Many city dwellers fear that the high- rise buildings devoid of adequate fire safety measures may turn into death traps if any fire breaks out there.

Additional commissioner of Detective Branch (DB) of police Md Abdul Baten told newsmen that huge loss of life and property in the fire at FR Tower at Banani resulted from the fact that the building was constructed without following proper design.

Besides, the FR Tower lacks emergency exit, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, the DB police officer said at a briefing at DMP’s media centre on Sunday.

He said police have already arrested Tasveer Ul Islam, owner of the illegally constructed portion of FR Tower, and SMHI Faruk Hossain owner of the land, in a case filed over the fire incident. Tasveer is also the president of the building safety committee.

“They were arrested on Saturday night during  a drive in the city’s

Gulshan and Bashundhara and Baridhara areas,” Baten said.

Both the arrestees are now in police remand.

Earlier on Sunday, the duo were produced before a chief metropolitan magistrate’s court seeking 10-day remand for them. But the court granted seven days for each of the accused, court sources said. DB police are now on the hunt  for another accused.

Baten said they constructed FR Tower not giving a damn about safety and service issues. “They constructed the building to make it a source of making money,” he added. 

Baten said Rupayan Group owner Liakat constructed FR Tower in violation of rules and sold the building for his personal gains.

“Police are continuing drive to detain Liakat,” he added.

A total of 26 people were killed and 70 others injured in the devastating fire at FR Tower on Thursday.

Meanwhile, students of Prime Asia University, a high-rise, adjacent to FR Tower at Banani staged demonstration in front of their university campus on Sunday, demanding adequate fire safety measures.

The students also formed a human-chain to push for their demands. During the demonstration, they chanted slogans demanding sufficient fire safety equipments, emergency exit and security men.

The students alleged that they had been passing days with high fire risk as the establishment has no enough fire safety measures.

A fourth-semester student of the university Shakil Ahmed said  major casualties might have taken place if any such incident of fire breaks out inside the building campus as it has no any major safety fire equipments, including fire extinguisher, fire alarms and emergency exists.  

At least 26 people have been killed and over 50 injured after a fire broke out at the high-rise ‘FR Tower’ in Dhaka’s Banani on Thursday.

It has been alleged that the building was not constructed according to the blueprints submitted to the government for approval.

Two days after the fire, another blaze broke out at the makeshift market near the Gulshan-1 DNCC Market. Over 150 shops were burned down in the blaze. Two fires broken out near the DNCC Market in two years.

While talking to reporters, Major Shakil Newaj, director (operations and maintenance) of Fire Service and Civil Defence said they issued notice  four times to the DNCC market authorities following the 2017 fire but but none of the recommendations was implemented by them.

Mozammel Haque, former deputy director of the Fire Service Civil Defence (FSCD), told the daily sun that buildings need basic fire safety facilities such as fire detection and alarm systems, extinguishers, hose reels with water connection, fire escape route, accessible road, reservoir with adequate water reserve, safe shelter and fire-fighting teams.

Most of the high-rise buildings have been built in the capital in violation of the original design.

In a survey on 3,786 establishments in 2017, the FSCD found that 1,069 had no fire safety measures (extremely risky) and 2,588 had some fire-safety measures (risky). Only 129 were identified as satisfactory.

The establishments surveyed include schools, colleges, universities, shopping malls, banks, hospitals, media centres and residential hotels.