Friday, November 24, 2017

BGMEA seeks another year to demolish its multi-storey office building

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-09-09 15:38:55 BdST


Bangladesh's top apparel business body wants to use its multi-storey office building, which was built in violation of the Wetlands Protection Act, for another year.

After losing a legal battle, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association or BGMEA was given a six-month deadline by the Supreme Court to tear down the building. The deadline ends on Monday.

At a media briefing on Saturday, BGMEA President Md Siddiqur Rahman said they have filed a petition with the court seeking one year’s time to demolish the building.

“We respect the law. We will move out as soon as the construction of our new offices is complete, which will take another year.”

The BGMEA building built about two decades ago endangered wetlands in Dhaka. In 1998, then Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the building. The construction began the same year.

The building was inaugurated in 2006 by Khaleda Zia as prime minister.

The High Court ordered it to be taken down in 2011 as the building was constructed in violation of the law. The Appellate Division in June last year upheld the verdict.

As a last-ditch attempt to save its office building, the BGMEA filed a petition for a review of the top court's verdict, which was scrapped on Mar 5.

The BGMEA then went to the apex court with the petition for three-year’s time, but the court gave six months to finish the job.

In October 2010, the High Court issued a rule asking why the building should not be demolished.

The rule came after a lawyer presented a report carried by an English-language newspaper on the building.

The court had then sought explanation from the secretary of the public works ministry, RAJUK, BGMEA president, district administration and Dhaka metro police commissioner.

In 2011, the High Court ordered the structure to be taken down as it found the building had been constructed in violation of laws meant to protect wetlands.

“The BGMEA Bhaban is like a cancer in the Hatirjheel project and if the building is not taken down immediately, it will infect not just Hatirjheel but the entire Dhaka City,” the court said in its verdict.

It also said ‘the reason behind sparing a certain influential quarter with strong financial backup beyond the reach of the law is completely unacceptable’.

The full verdict was available two years later, when the BGMEA moved the Appellate Division against the ruling.

On Jun 2, 2016, the Supreme Court turned down the petition and upheld the High Court's verdict.