Blast-hit Old Dhaka building needs retrofitting for use, says RAJUK committee

A RAJUK committee concludes that the building can be used only after retrofitting is done following assessment of a competent organisation

Published : 13 March 2023, 02:28 PM
Updated : 13 March 2023, 02:28 PM

The expert panel formed by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, the capital development authority, to determine the fate of the blast-hit Siddique Bazar building has concluded the structure can be used after retrofitting.

An explosion ripped through the Café Queen building on Old Dhaka’s North South Road on Mar 7, killing at least 23 people.

The impact of the blast caused two floors of the building to collapse, with nine out of the 24 columns, slabs, beams, and retaining walls sustaining damage.

RAJUK formed two committees to look into the incident - one to investigate possible irregularities in the building’s construction and the other to assess whether the structure, which is currently in a fragile state, can be used in the future.

The committee led by Shamsuddin Ahmed Chowdhury, RAJUK member (development control) submitted its report on Monday.

The building can be used again if retrofitting is done as recommended, said BUET Prof Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, a member of the committee.

“It will take at least six months to complete all the work. The building cannot be used until then.”

The committee suggested that the damaged beams and columns of the building be repaired as soon as possible to accommodate propping for the safety of the nearby buildings, passing vehicles and pedestrians.

The area of the road including the footpath in front of the structure should be surrounded by a concrete barrier up to 26 feet high, it added. The columns have already been steel-propped.

The committee also said light vehicles and buses could run on the road in front of the building only from 6am to 10pm.

The owners need to make a detailed engineering assessment of the damaged building through an expert organisation within the next 45 days and the retrofitting work would be carried out as per their assessment in six months, it added.

Police arrested three people, including two brothers, who own the building.