The illegal construction of the building of the Bangladesh Garment Exporters and Manufactures Association (BGMEA) by filling up significant part of a canal named the Begun Bari Canal without conclusive ownership over land, an approved building plan, and clearances for filling up of wetlands was being criticized since the foundation of the building was laid by the then Prime Minister in 1998 Ignoring all public criticisms and grossly violating the applicable laws on building construction, urbanization and wetland protection, BGMEA continued with the construction and managed to get another Prime Minister to inaugurate the building in 2006.
The case is a classic example of culture of impunity. BGMEA, being the largest foreign currency earner of the country grossly abused the system and exerted undue influence in obtaining lands from the government acquired for a different public purpose. While the lands were acquired by the Railways Department, the same were handed over to the Export Promotion Bureau for construction of a World Trade Centre. Subsequently, the lands that were never registered in favour of the Export Promotion Bureau were handed over by them to BGMEA for construction of their fifteen storied office complex. This is total violation of laws as lands acquired for one public purpose can’t be used for another public purpose, let alone transferring the same to a private entity as that of BGMEA for constructing its own club house. The authorities concerned came so much in aide of BGMEA that from transfer of land upto deciding over the approval of the building plan have conveniently intentionally ignored the fact that the building was being developed on a wetland crucial for the drainage of the Dhaka City. The authorities went upto the extent of tampering with land records and even replaced the words “Begun Bari Khal (canal)” with the words “Boro Moghbazar” in the documents.
Such actions of the authorities were simply to give undue benefit to the business house clearly to the derogation of the common people.
BGMEA, without getting the land recorded in their name and making full payment for the same, started construction of the building that drew huge public criticism. The building regulatory authority served BGMEA with notices against unauthorized construction and BGMEA continued to urge exemption from payment of the amount required for approval of buildings. Subsequently, BGMEA paid an amount of taka 12,50,000/- (twelve lac fifty thousand taka) as penalty, proving clearly that their building was an unauthorized one. BGMEA, however, never gave the undertaking required by the authorities to remove the unauthorized construction and instead, completed the construction and got the same approved by the highest executive of the country.
After the construction was over, BGMEA sold out all the floors but one to different entities which again is violative of the conditions on which the land was attempted to be leased out to it.
The Supreme Court today BGMEA one-year time from April 12, 2018 for compliance its order to demolish the illegal structure. . (See less)