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City construction site caves in

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A construction site at Nakhalpara in the city's Tejgaon Industrial Area subsided taking with it an adjacent road and three tin-shed houses after the pilings collapsed early yesterday [May 21, 2011], also causing cracks on nearby multi-storey buildings, reports The Daily Star.


Five construction workers were injured as they tumbled in the ditch formed after the cave-in. Of them, Ali Hossain, Rustam, Baker and Bashir were admitted to a local clinic.

 

All the residents from 14 neighbouring buildings were evacuated immediately.

Huge cracks were seen within at least 30 feet radius of the collapse site and two five-storey buildings nearby have slightly tilted.

Locals, police and Fire Service and Civil Defence officials rescued many people from under the debris and pile of household items including TV sets, refrigerators and furniture.

At the site, Islamic Trading Consortium Ltd (ITCL) was digging 60 feet deep into the ground to build a three-layer basement car park for the 14-storey Impulse Medical College and Hospital on 2.9-acre land.

According to locals, the disaster happened as the hospital was being constructed on the site which was once a wetland recently filled up with garbage.

Fifty-year-old Mohammad Wahid, who was born here, said "The entire area was a 40-50 feet deep wetland. Various establishments were erected after it was filled up.”

Shafiqul Islam, an Ansar member who was on duty at the place Friday night, said a tin-roofed house collapsed with a huge bang around 12:30am yesterday.

Locals said two other tin-shed buildings crumbled and a concrete street, north to the construction site, subsided around 2:30am.

While visiting the area, Rajuk Chairman Mohammad Nurul Huda said the cave-in occurred due to faulty piling work.

Replying to a query, he said, "The construction was approved by Rajuk, but neither the owners nor the engineers followed our instructions."

"All the residents have been evacuated from the affected buildings as well as from those at risk of collapse," said Nurul Huda. "The victims must be compensated and punitive measures will be taken against the responsible persons and authorities."

Locals said the under-construction hospital is owned by a physician, Prof Ali Zaher al-Amin. He could not be reached despite repeated attempts.

Khaleda Yasmin, who claimed to be a director of Impulse Medical College and Hospital, confirmed that Islamic Trade Consortium was constructing the building.

Talking to The Daily Star, ITCL Director Ashim K Goswami claimed his company is not responsible for the disaster as another one was assigned for the piling work. Asked, he claimed not to know its name.

The ITCL was building only the basement, he added.

Ashim, however, said they would find out the cause of the incident and also compensate the victims through the local lawmaker.

Mohammad Dipu, 22, son of the owner of one of the affected five-storey buildings, said, "We built the building with all we had. If it collapses, we will have to stay under the open sky."

There are many establishments to the north of the tilted building.

Dipu's father Abdul Mannan Patwari said, "The construction started six months ago. They dug deep into the ground. We opposed but nobody listened."

M Abdus Salam, fire service and civil defence director (administration and audit), told reporters, "Gas pipelines to several houses were damaged due to the incident. Residents of the area have been requested not to ignite stoves for now."

CASE FILED

Meanwhile, Rajuk officials filed a case against the authorities of the under-construction hospital and its engineers last night while a three-member committee was formed to probe the incident.

Rajuk Chairman Nurul Huda said the case was filed under Real Estate Development and Management Act 2010.

The probe committee headed by engineer Abdul Mannan, member of Rajuk (planning and management), has been asked to submit its report in seven days.

See original report at www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=186708