A machine is deployed to demolish the "illegally constructed" 16-storey headquarters building of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Jan. 22, 2020. (Str/Xinhua)
DHAKA, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh has began demolition of "illegally constructed" 16-storey headquarters building of the country's thousands of apparel exporters.
Public Works and Housing Minister SM Rezaul Karim inaugurated the demolition activities of the building used for more than a decade as the headquarters of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) on Wednesday.
The demolition of the building will be done mechanically over a period of six months, the minister told reporters on the spot.
"We've taken all necessary measures to avoid accidents during demolition of the mega structure."
RAJUK (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha), the development authority of capital Dhaka, has been supervising the entire demolition activities.
Bangladesh's Supreme Court in November 2016 released the full text of its verdict in which it upheld a High Court judgment that ordered BGMEA to demolish the building at its own cost, otherwise, relevant government authorities will demolish within 90 days of receiving the order and realize the cost from BGMEA.
BGMEA later sought three-year time for shifting away from the building after it lost its final review appeal in the Supreme Court.
Bangladeshi High Court in its judgement had termed the building as a "cancer" in the middle of Dhaka's picturesque Hatirjheel lake.
BGMEA is considered as a powerful trade body in Bangladesh representing thousands of factory owners in ready-made garment sector which contribute more than three-fourths of the country's annual export incomes.
Bangladesh's over 34-billion-U.S. dollar apparel export sector comprises thousands of factories employing millions of workers, 80 percent of whom are women.
The High Court verdict order said the BGMEA building was built on land acquired through forgery.
No commercial establishment can be set up without the environment clearance from the Department of Environment as stated in Section 12 of the Environment Conservation Act 1995 and Rule 7(4) of the Environment Conservation Rules 1997, read the High Court verdict.
The BGMEA building's foundation was laid in 1998 and opened in 2006.