April 15, 2024, 3:03 pm

Staff Correspondent

2024-03-03 14:09:34 BdST

All laws violated in Green Cozy Cottage construction: BIP

The Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) has said the construction of Green Cozy Cottage in the capital’s Baily Road blatantly violated all relevant laws and the negligence of government stakeholders is evident in the tragic loss of 46 lives in Thursday’s devastating inferno at the seven-storey building.

The loss of lives should be regarded as structural murders, which could have been prevented through the diligence of government stakeholders, stated BIP President Adil Mohammad Khan during a press conference held in the capital on Saturday.

He stressed that without holding the stakeholders accountable, fire incidents cannot be minimised.

On Thursday night, a catastrophic fire erupted at the seven-storey Green Cozy Cottage. Apart from claiming the lives of 46 individuals, the fire inflicted injuries on several others.

Currently, five of the injured are in critical condition, prompting the formation of a 17-member medical board on Saturday. Health Minister Dr Samanta Lal Sen has been appointed as the chief of the board.

Two bodies have yet to be handed over to their respective families. One of the deceased, a female journalist named Ovisruti, was claimed by both Muslim and Hindu communities, while the other, Minhaz Uddin, is being claimed by two different families.

During the press conference, Adil Mohammad highlighted numerous instances of regulatory violations in the construction of the building.

He pointed out breaches of the Dhaka Imarat Nirman Bidhimala-2008, Bangladesh National Building Code-2020, Local Government (City Corporation) Act-2009, Fire Prevention and Dousing Act-2003, Detailed Area Plan (DAP) 2016-35, Gas Cylinder Rules-1991, as well as city planning, environmental laws, and construction-related regulations.

Adil Mohammad emphasised that various government bodies, including Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (RAJUK), Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), its zonal offices, councillor offices, Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD), Department of Environment, Dhaka district administration, Police Department, and Department of Explosives, bear responsibility for negligence.

He provided examples, such as how the DSCC granted trade licenses to eateries in the cottage to operate restaurants, while RAJUK approved its design plan for offices on floors one to five and residences on floors six to seven.

“Why did the RAJUK not stop the operation of the eateries and shops?” he asked.

On the other hand, the FSCD has kept mum just by serving three notices to the building authorities to ensure fire safety measures, said Adil.

The BIP president highlighted the importance of holding accountable the individuals associated with the stakeholders, building owners, and businessmen to prevent future incidents of this nature.

Representing the BIP, he called upon RAJUK to update all approved building designs on its website. This would enable tenants, including businessmen, to determine whether a building is designated for commercial, residential, or mixed-use.

He also urged the RAJUK to hang red colour notices in front of risky buildings so that people could avoid them.
In the meantime, a case was filed in connection with the incident.

Salman Farsi, assistant commissioner (Ramna Zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said that the case was lodged against some mentioning names and some unknown others at Ramna police station on Friday night.

The accused are Anwarul Haque, the owner of Chumuk; a developer company;
Hamimul Haque Bipul, the manager of Green Cozy Cottage, Sohel Siraj, the owner of Kacchi Bhai.

The police arrested Anwar, Bipul, Jisan, the manager of Kacchi Bhai, and Shakil Ahmed, one of the owners of Chumuk, on Friday and Saturday.

Following their arrest, a Dhaka court remanded them for two days after the police presented them in court.

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