Risky buildings in Old Dhaka a constant danger
TWO persons, including a 50-year-old father and his 17-year-old son, were killed in a building collapse at Patuatuli in the Old Town of Dhaka on Wednesday. The deceased were banana sellers, Fire Service and Civil Defence officials said. According to locals, several banana traders had been residing on the first floor of the building and using the ground floor as a warehouse for the last several years though the two-storey building was shabby and abandoned. The rooftop of the building completely collapsed while the ceiling of the first floor caved in partially.
Most of the buildings in Old Dhaka are highly risky for residing. But who cares! Apart from danger of collapse, several deadly fire incidents also have taken place in the Old Dhaka in the recent years killing dozens of people. But nothing could change the trend, and there is no change in risky and old buildings. The main reason is that house rent there is comparatively cheaper. Another big reason is that- there are a huge number of trading houses, mini factories, workshops and other establishments with investment of millions of taka. For that reason business-related people don't want to leave the place.
Recently, the government has taken up various initiatives including the construction of new buildings after demolition of vulnerable buildings in Old Dhaka under a re-development project. As per the plan the government will construct a new building, if there are three buildings on a five katha-land, after demolishing the old one, in line with the building code under the project. Later, flats will be allocated to the land owners. Obviously, it's a good initiative. But we don't see any visible progress in this regard. Recently, we have observed that Dhaka South City Corporation has apparently failed to shift the chemical godowns and factories from Old Dhaka amid several attempts.
We hope, the building owners or land-owners of Old Dhaka will understand the reality. It's government's task to motivate them for a better and secure accommodation for their family and children. The Old Dhaka land-owners must value their lives more than any other thing.