Some of the 3,000 unsold flats are now being used for isolation of newly arrived passengers to Bangladesh
In 2010, Jahangir Alam booked an apartment in Uttara Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) residential project spending all his Tk70 lakh savings. The public employee was supposed to get his flat readied in 2016. But Rajuk handed him over the property two years later in 2018.
However, the flat on the seventh floor of the 16-storey building does not have the basic amenities such as elevator, power, gas and water connections. Jahangir Alam had been living at the apartment alone since his family members were not willing to move in their "home, sweet home".
"Every time I reach out to the Rajuk for electricity, they say it will come soon. They also assure Wasa [Water Supply and Sewerage Authority] will begin water supply quickly. But those are just hollow promises," Jahangir Alam told The Business Standard.
Apart from no utility service, he complained over the "terrible" fittings in the apartment.
"The building had the lift installed, but it is now out of order. The floor tiles are coming apart. Many fittings in the bathroom and kitchen do not work," said Jahangir.
Rajuk took up the residential project in 2009 on 212 acres of land in Dhaka's Uttara. In 2010, the prime minister inaugurated the project to construct 240 sixteen-story buildings having a total of 18,732 apartments.
The Tk9,030 crore project was scheduled to be completed by June, 2016.
Rajuk so far has built 79 buildings with around 6,000 flats in "A Block". The state-run Dhaka development authority could not specify the deadline to complete constructions in "B" and "C Block" which will have a total of another 6608 apartments.
In the "A Block", Rajuk managed to sell 3,000 apartments so far of the 6,000 units while the remaining flats are still unsold. Only 200 apartment-owners are currently staying at their flats in the residential area.
Some of the 3,000-unsold flats are being used for quarantine for the incoming passengers to the country.
According to the flat owners association, Rajuk sold each flat at Tk70 lakh. Of the 79 buildings constructed in the "A Block" of the project, none of them has a gas connection. A few buildings have water and electricity but not available to all apartments. Although there are elevators in 47 buildings, they remain closed most of the time.
Hamidur Rahman, president of the Apartment Owners Welfare Association, told TBS that each flat was supposed to be 1,620 square feet, but they find the usable part of an apartment is less than 1,200 square feet.
He said the buildings do not have any security measures since there is no boundary wall.
"Outsiders often enter the buildings. The association held several press conferences on these issues," he added.
While contacted, the apartment project Director Abdul Latif Helaly and also the chief engineer of Rajuk, told TBS that the project is ongoing. He said all the apartments would soon get utility connections.
"We had already submitted demands to Titas for gas connection to the apartments. But it is not possible to provide it as there is a government ban on a residential connection. Therefore, Rajuk has made arrangements for community LPG in the flats where people are living."
Abdul Latif Helaly said he had not been in the project when the buildings were constructed. The officials who were in-charge had retired.
On the security issue, Helaly commented the insecurity would go away once all the flat owners would move into their houses.
This correspondent approached Titas, Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) and Wasa over setting up the utility connections.
Engineer Ali Iqbal Md Nurullah, managing director of Titas, told TBS that they are yet to get the ministry approval to provide gas supply there.
In the meantime, Desco Managing Director Engineer Md Kausar Ameer Ali shifted the blame to Rajuk's shoulder and said they would set up power network underground in the area. But road construction is yet to be completed at some places there.
Wasa Deputy Managing Director (Admin) Md Mahmud Hossain said some of the buildings have already had water and sewerage lines, and they are now working to bring other establishments under the network.
State minister, MP's construction firms did the work
Nazrul Islam, general secretary of the Uttara Apartment Owners' Welfare Association, said construction firms of a state minister and a member of parliament (MP) won the Rajuk housing work.
"They built substandard buildings. And the flats are also in poor condition," he alleged.
Nazrul said the two firms have also got the construction in "B" and "C Block" of the project. But they could not start the work so far.
While contacted, Rajuk Chairman Md Sayeed Noor Alam said they could not complete the work owing to numerous complications.
Noting the work is now going on in "full swing", he said construction of all the buildings would be completed by next year.