There are several specific regulations for the construction and use of buildings in Dhaka city, but those rules are violated on a regular basis. The Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkha (RAJUK) does not even have any monitoring system over this grave issue. As a result, millions of building users cannot know whether the building they are residing in is safe for them. In Dhaka Metropolitan Building (Construction, Development, Conservation and Removal) Act 2008, it has been said that, after the partial or complete construction of a building, it will need to obtain a certificate — which is called ‘Occupancy Certificate’ — from RAJUK before starting to live there. This is an authorisation letter issued to the owner or the user of the building to ensure that the building is safe for residence. Living in the building before issuance of the certificate is an illegal act. Unfortunately, this illegality is rampant in most of the cases of building use in the capital.
About forty thousand buildings have been constructed over the past 10 years since the Dhaka Metropolitan Building Act was adopted in 2008. And out of this huge number of buildings, only 162 buildings have taken this certificate with a poor rate of 0.004 per cent. This only means that RAJUK has completely failed to implement the use of building certification. And with this failure, RAJUK is totally ignorant of some of the crucially important facts. RAJUK cannot know whether the building, which has taken no authorisation certificate, has been properly built based on the approved design. It is also beyond RAJUK’s knowledge if the design has been changed or the building is risky to use.
Apart from all these, there is a provision for renewal of the ‘building use certificate’ after every five years. RAJUK, during certificate renewal, could monitor whether there was any error in the building by this time and whether it was still safe to live in. But certificate renewal is beyond question especially when the original certificate is not taken. Hence RAJUK has little or no opportunity to determine the liveability in the building. Thus, many people, knowingly or unknowingly, are living at risk in many buildings. This cannot continue anymore. RAJUK must reenergise itself to try to implement the provision of the use of the building. The other service agencies in the capital will have to cooperate with RAJUK in this regard. No ‘building use certificate’ should mean no connection of water, gas and electricity to that building. All have to come forward to make living in Dhaka safe for its residents.