Vol. 5 Num 243 Sun. January 30, 2005  
Star City

Janata Tower to get a facelift soon

Janata Tower, the infamous 11-storey building in Karwan Bazar that has remained abandoned for the last four years, is soon to get a facelift for setting up government offices in the building, officials of the public works ministry said.

In the year 2000, the government acquired the building after the High Court convicted former military ruler HM Ershad in a corruption case involving himself and his wife, Raushan Ershad, regarding purchase of this land.

When the building came under the government ownership, its construction was yet to complete. After the acquisition, the work came to halt. Soon squatting families started living in the building making it a high-rise slum.

About two years ago, the government evicted the squatters to free the building and allotted space for a Public Works Department office. But no steps have been taken to make the building usable completing rest of the construction work.

Housing and Public Works Minister Mirza Abbas however told Star City that they are going to make the building usable as soon as possible.

"We have requested the finance ministry for funds to complete the rest of the construction work. The law ministry also has agreed to provide some funds in exchange for spaces for its offices," said Abbas.

"The law ministry will be given four floors and the rest to other ministries which are facing shortage of office space," the minister said.

Abbas said they would require about Tk 14 crore to build four more levels in the building as per its original design. "But if the structure is just refurbished in its present height, the cost would be around Tk 5 crore."

The facelift of Janata Tower however will not solve its problems. The DCC uses the roads in front of the building for dumping garbage of Karwan Bazar.

To start business in such a modern building the ministry will first have to find an alternative rubbish dumping site in Karwan Bazar, the largest wholesale vegetable market in the country that generates about 250 tones of rubbish everyday.

. PHOTO: AKM Mohsin