Vol. 5 Num 26 Tue. June 22, 2004  
Front Page

JS complex buildings for speaker, dy speaker illegal
HC asks govt to announce Sangsad Bhaban national heritage

The High Court (HC) yesterday declared illegal the under-construction residences of the speaker and deputy speaker in the parliament complex, as the government distorted the original design of architect Louis I Kahn's 1973 masterpiece.

The court also asked the government to take steps to announce the parliament building as part of national heritage, in an order that came after the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) and Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) filed a writ petition against the tampering.

"The responsibility of demolishing the illegal buildings goes to the government," said Barrister Tanjib ul Alam, who along with Advocate Moin Gani of Dr Kamal Hossain Associates moved the writ petition.

An HC bench of Justice Mohammad Iman Ali and Justice Shamim Hasnine described the construction as an "arrogant attitude of this government".

The construction that began in an open space on the western side of the Sangsad Bhaban on October 25, 2002 also breached the National Building Code and ignored Rajuk's official order and protest of the IAB and Bapa.

The HC observed that the Sangsad Bhaban, a marble stone and concrete structure, is an architectural masterpiece admired around the world and the construction of the new residences there was carried out without permission from Rajuk, the regulatory authority, required under the Building Construction Act, 1952.

The court also said the construction was carried out in a place earmarked in the original plan of Louis Kahn as an open space and such construction is against the public interest.

After the court verdict, the IAB and Bapa co-organised a press conference at the National Press Club yesterday, where speakers said the HC order proved the government does not have any right to destroy the national pride.

Prominent architects, including Mobasswar Hossain, Shamsul Waresh, Rabiul Hussain and Saiful Haq, said the Sangsad Bhaban is one of the most precise and finest architectural works of present times.

Several architecture books published by renowned universities such as Oxford made the cover design with a photo of the Sangsad Bhaban.

The speakers called on the government not to go to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to appeal against the HC order and demanded steps to announce the parliament complex as a national heritage site and apply to Unesco for making it part of world heritage.

The construction of Sangsad Bhaban began in 1962 and took 12 years to finish.

Professor Jamilur Reza Chowd-hury, Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed and Abu Naser Khan of Bapa were also present at the press conference.

Earlier, the HC stayed the construction in May 2003, but the government resumed the work as the Appellate Division stayed the HC order in August 2003.

The construction of the two buildings neared the finish. Workers told The Daily Star that installation of fittings in the buildings was complete. "Only wooden doors remain to be fixed," a worker said.

Residences of the speaker and deputy speaker in the parliament building complex flout the law, as the government did not follow the National Building Code in construction and tampered with Louis I Kahn's original plan. PHOTO: STAR