Janata Tower remains unutilised for long |
Kausar Islam Ayon
Many government offices are cramped without adequate space, and the state-owned 11-storied Janata Tower in Karwan Bazar, which could be utilised, has been abandoned for the last five years.
Janata Tower was originally designed for 15-storeys and an estimate by the Public Works Department (PWD) states that each floor of 3,600 square feet can house at least three to four government directorates.
Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mirza Abbas told the Star City in January 2005 that the building would be taken into use within the current year.
The minister said that a proposal was sent to the finance ministry for allocation of funds for renovation, but no response has been received.
"We asked the Finance Ministry for Tk 14 crore to put up four more floors according to its original design," said the minister.
In 1990 only 11 storeys of the building were complete with four more left to be done.
But the government acquired the building in 2000, after the High Court convicted former president HM Ershad and his wife Raushan Ershad, in a corruption case regarding purchase of the land where the building was constructed.
After the acquisition, the work came to halt.
"We had an alternative proposal of Tk 5 crore for refurbishing the structure as it stands at present," said Abbas.
It was decided that four floors of the building be allotted to law ministry and the rest to other ministries that are facing a shortage of office space.
"The law ministry has agreed to provide some funds in exchange for space to house its offices," said the minister.
Since 1991 floating families have been occupying the building making it a high-rise slum. About four years ago, the government evicted these dwellers and allotted space for a Public Works Department office. But no steps have yet been taken to make use of the entire building by completing the rest of the construction work.
PWD Officials said that apart from completing construction work, roads around the building should be made usable and the wholesale kitchen market relocated. At present the Dhaka City Corporation the roads in front of the building as the Karwan Bazar.