Staff Correspondent: Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipaksha (RAJUK) and corruption have become synonymous. Rajuk has transformed into a profit-making and profitable organization, not a people-friendly one. It is rare for a common citizen to get services without bribery. For example, a bribe of Tk 50 thousand to Tk 2 crore has to be paid to approve the design of the building. They have evolved from protectors to devourers. However, not all Rajuk officers are corrupt.
In accordance with all the building construction laws and regulations, the application for design approval has to be made to the RAJUK. According to this rule of building construction, the owners under the organization also apply for design approval. But many building owners have been accused of violating the rules after getting approval.
For this reason, RAJUK conducts eviction operations in illegal buildings by inspecting under-construction and constructed buildings. However, due to various complications and administrative weakness, the eviction process is going on very slowly. This has increased the number of buildings constructed in violation of the law. Town experts say RAJUK must speed up the eviction process as well as increase capacity.
Besides, they advised to ensure the accountability of the inspectors and managers of the organization.
According to Rajuk’s March Building Construction Report, Rajuk inspected 2,111 buildings that month. Of these, 1,308 were found to be defective. Evacuation has been carried out in only 135 buildings, which is far less than the inspection, according to Rajuk officials themselves.
The director of the organization (Development Control 1) Engineer Md. Mubarak Hossainadmitted the slowness of the evacuation. He told, “Due to several limitations of Rajuk, the speed of eviction process has slowed down. Our big problem is that we don’t have our own police or magistrate. We write to the administration asking for the necessary number of policemen to evacuate a building after any disturbance is proved. Due to the delay in getting the police, it is not possible to carry out the evacuation operation on time.
In fact, it is not possible for such a big organization like Rajuk to run without its own forces. We have been saying this repeatedly.
Speaking to the agency’s building inspectors, the delay in the evictions is said to be due to Rajuk’s limitations, as well as allegations of negligence and corruption by officials. If there is a disturbance in a building, the inspectors first give notice to that building. Some building inspectors said that after giving the notice, the building owners keep the inspector in their hands and look for ways to stop the eviction.
Sometimes inspectors are pressured not to submit notices or reports to the office about building disturbances. Several inspectors said that even after giving repeated notices to some buildings, the concerned officials show little interest in the eviction process.
According to Rajuk sources, the inspectors visited two categories of buildings under construction and constructed buildings. Any lapse in inspection is called for rectification by giving notice immediately. If it is not rectified after three consecutive notices then eviction is conducted by Rajuk. However, there is a complaint that even though there is a rule to give notice as soon as the building is disturbed, the inspectors themselves are not fully complying with it. Town experts have commented that this is a major irregularity.
What is mentioned in the report?
According to Rajuk’s March report, 2,111 buildings were inspected that month. Among them, 1 thousand 794 buildings are under construction. On inspection, the agency found that 1,550 buildings had some form of violation of the rules. According to the rules, notice is supposed to be given to every building owner found to be in violation, but only 874 building owners have been given notice. The agency’s building inspectors did not send letters to the remaining 208 building owners.
Similarly, in March, Rajuk’s building inspectors inspected 317 constructed buildings and found 253 violations. Here too no notice has been given to hundred percent of the building owners. According to the report, Rajuk inspectors have given notice to the owners of 221 constructed buildings. Rajuk has not issued any kind of notice despite finding violations in the remaining 32 buildings.
Opinions of concerned parties
According to city experts, it is the routine work of the agency to issue notices as soon as the building is disturbed during Rajuk’s inspection. If this work is not carried out 100% then other building owners will be encouraged to do the same. Moreover, the negligence of the notice issue is also a major reason for the slow eviction, said the executive director of the Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) and the professor of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Jahangirnagar University Adil Muhammad Khan.
He said, ‘The work of the inspectors is to immediately notify the building owner if there is any disturbance in the building. No one is left out here. But we can see that Rajuk’s building inspectors are not able to do the simple task of giving notices 100%. As a result, the eviction is also delayed. And on this occasion the defective building stands. In this way, when building after building is built, it is said by Rajuk that the building has been built. There is nothing more to do now.’
When asked about the delay in the eviction of Rajuk, he said, “An organization like Rajuk should have its own police.” It turned out that the eviction date was fixed, but the police were not available that day. That means the eviction was delayed for a long time again. Besides, if the current capacity of RAJUK is utilized with transparency, it is possible to double-triple the organization’s evacuation activities within a month.
Kazi Washi Uddin, secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, said, “From now on, there is no chance of negligence in the work of Rajuk inspectors.” Notice should be given as soon as the building is disturbed. We have also decided to hold accountable the officer involved in the disturbance in the building. Besides, we have taken initiatives to make the eviction process faster.
It is also known from the research report entitled “Challenges of Good Governance and Ways of Transition” by Transparency International Bangladesh-TIB, an international anti-corruption organization, that it is rare that common people have received services from Rajuk without bribery. Bribes are taken at a fixed rate through a tripartite agreement between Rajuk officials, brokers and a group of service takers. Rajuk and corruption have become monotonous and synonymous terms. Rajuk has not yet become a people-friendly institution.
Even Rajuk is not a woman and disabled friendly institution. Rajuk has failed to fulfill the responsibility of the regulatory body. They also failed to protect DAP and DMDP. RAJUK has now deviated from its original role through the institutionalization of irregularities and corruption.
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