A ‘missing’ building and Tk 19cr investment

Rafiqul Islam of Old Dhaka has been working at a machinery shop for several years, saving his earnings to accumulate Tk 5 lakh over a decade.

With his hard-earned savings, Rafiqul  booked a shop at the MA Aziz Market Complex, an under-construction  five-storey building owned by the Dhaka South City Corporation.

Expecting to receive his shop in 2019, Rafiqul and 280 others now find themselves in a distressing situation, as they are yet to receive any concrete information from the DSCC regarding the long-awaited delivery date.

What’s worse is that the building where he booked the shop remains incomplete and abandoned. He wants to know the whereabouts of the Tk 19 crore he claims have been invested by potential shop owners like him.

“I invested to buy a shop, thinking about the future of my son and daughter. Former mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon completed his term, and the new mayor took office, but the construction of the market remains unfinished,” Rafiqul told The My News.

Sakina Rahman, who invested Tk 7 lakh in three installments to the DSCC in hopes for a shop to call her own, echoed the same.

When these individuals contact the relevant department to enquire about the progress of the construction and the anticipated delivery of their shops, the response they receive is consistently vague, often they are simply told, “soon.”

According to the DSCC engineering department, the construction of the building on 38.64 katha land at the Chankharpul intersection, was estimated to cost Tk 32 crore, with construction initially set to be completed by October 2019. The deadline was later extended to November 2020. The contractors halted the construction after completing only the basement, and the building has since been left abandoned.

Prior to the commencement of the building’s construction, interested individuals were asked to apply for shops through a newspaper notice.

Among the applicants, 281 people were allocated shops, each of whom deposited Tk 3 lakh to the DSCC fund. An additional Tk 2 lakh was given in a subsequent installment. The price of each shop in this market ranges from Tk 10 to 13 lakh.

These individuals have continued to make further installments for four consecutive terms.

Despite the lack of progress in the building’s construction, the DSCC revenue department has continued to accept installments from the affected individuals.

Approximately Tk 19 crore has been collected in the fund, with some individuals paying in two installments and others in three.

During a recent visit to the site, it was found that only the basement roof had been completed. However, the abandoned site has now become an ideal mosquito breeding ground. Besides, the basement was being used as a garage for rickshaws and vans.

Omar Bin Abdal Aziz, son of late Awami League leader MA Aziz after whom the market was named, was given the responsibility of overseeing the property as a local councillor.

Contacted, he said, “I have asked a man to look after the place. He will be replaced once a newly-appointed construction firm resumes the construction work.”


Sources at the DSCC engineering department said, The Builders Engineering Associates Limited, the contractor company responsible for the construction of the building, had close ties with Jubo League leader GK Shamim, a top contractor of government projects.

Shamim was arrested during an anti-casino operation. After his arrest, the building construction came to a halt, they added.

It took two years to cancel the contractor’s contract, appoint a magistrate to assess the completed work’s cost, impose fines for breaching the agreement, and issue a new contract.

In April of last year, the authorities published a fresh advertisement to select new contractors.

DSCC Revenue Officer Md Anisur Rahman said the engineering department is responsible for the building’s construction.

He said once the work is finished, it will be handed over to the property department, which will then allocate the shops to the designated individuals.

Wishing anonymity, the engineering department officials told The My News that a new work order was given to a company after completing the tender procedures.

The Builders Engineering Associates Limited was fined for not completing the works in time, they said, adding that they are hopeful to resume the construction within the next month.

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