BANGLADESH: Rangs Group refutes some news reports

Company denies several published reports by media

The Daily Star
Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rangs Group in a written statement sent to the media yesterday contested several news items published and telecast by a section of the media, saying that the reports were untrue, unfounded and baseless.

In the statement the company said the news reports' claims that Rangs Bhaban had been constructed unlawfully occupying government and waqf lands and that the plan of the building had not been approved by Rajuk, are baseless and untrue.

It said the property of Rangs Bhaban was originally jointly owned by Dears International Ltd and Yunus Khan Mojlis Waqf Estate, the current owners of which also include Bank Asia Ltd, Kollol Group, SQ Group, Appollo Group, Shanin Group and Maritime Entrepreneurs Pte Ltd.

Dears International Ltd purchased 15.73 kathas of land from five private owners -- Mohammad Oli Mia, Mofizul Islam, Hosne Ara Begum, and Syed Ahmed Khan within the period between 1987 and 1993.

The statement also said Dears International Ltd purchased 6 kathas of land from Yunus Khan Mojlis Waqf Estate, the mutwali of which came into an agreement with Dears International to develop the land jointly, and the mutwali also obtained necessary permissions from the Waqf Commissioner's Office regarding the matter.

Approval of plan

According to the Rangs Group statement, Dears International first submitted a plan to Rajuk for a 10-storey Rangs Bhaban which would house a shopping and office complex. After examining all documents, Rajuk approved the plan on July 6, 1989, which was revised with Rajuk's approval on May 15, 1990 allowing construction of a 22-storey shopping and office complex instead. Rajuk also changed the status of the plot from a residential one to a commercial one, which was also later revised again with Rajuk's approval incorporating certain changes in the commercial status of the land.

Rajuk order

The Rangs Group statement said despite all the approvals, Rajuk issued a letter on June 24, 1999 stating that it had cancelled its earlier approval for the plan for 22-storey Rangs Bhaban. In the letter Rajuk also said for safety and security of the aircraft flying in and out of the old airport, the cancellation of the approval had become necessary.

Dears International and the mutwali of the waqf estate jointly made several appeals to Rajuk to reconsider its decision, but the requests were turned down prompting them to file a writ petition with the High Court.

Old airport and CAA

The statement went on to say after Zia International Airport had started its operations in early 1980, the old airport at Tejgaon was abandoned and used as a parade ground, and the old airport building was handed over to the Public Service Commission. When Rajuk approved the plan for Rangs Bhaban, there was no height restriction from the Civil Aviation Authority for buildings in the area as the old airport was abandoned.

Link road issue

The statement also said in the master plan for Dhaka City, there was no plan for an east-west road around the area of Rangs Bhaban. The plan for the road connecting Bijoy Sarani and Tongi Diversion Road at Tejgaon Industrial Area, to reduce pressure on the VIP Road, developed much later. Besides, Rangs Bhaban is not the only building standing there, about a hundred multi-storeyed buildings stand between Bijoy Sarani crossing and Tongi Diversion Road, all of which were also constructed with Rajuk's approval.