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Bangladesh - 4 days ago

All Dhanmondi restaurants illegal

Staff Correspondent: No restaurant in Dhanmondi residential area have proper license from the City Corporation, Rajuk and Fire Service department.
After the terrible fire tragedy in the ‘Green Cozy Cottage’ building on Bailey Road in Dhaka, several related organizations including City Corporation, Rajuk and Fire Service raided restaurants in Dhanmondi and other areas of the capital. Most of the restaurants were temporarily closed during the raid. After that, within a month, all the restaurants were opened as fire safety measures had been taken. The same is the case with restaurants in Dhanmondi, known as Dhaka’s elite area.
Cafes and restaurants have been built on almost every road in Dhanmondi. Especially on both sides of Sat Masjid Road, most buildings have restaurants on every floor. However, there is no permission from Rajuk to open restaurants in these buildings. Hundreds of restaurants are running illegally in more than half a hundred buildings with mainly residential and office permits. According to fire service sources, most of the restaurants in Dhanmondi do not have any permission or license.
After the operation conducted by various organizations, measures of fire safety equipment have been taken in these restaurants but it is not enough to extinguish the fire.
On June 3, it was observed on the ground that most of the restaurants do not have enough fire extinguishers, exit stairs, central water connection. Also, the staff working in the restaurant do not have the skills to use firefighting equipment. LPG cylinders are placed on the exit stairs of some buildings. There is no sprinkler system to automatically sprinkle water when heat is generated in any restaurant.
Marshall Plaza is a six-storied building located on Sat Masjid Road, on the south-west side of Abahani Ground. Its ground floor houses Star Kebab, A One Cake and Pastry Shop, Boss Sweets and a laundry shop. The staircase leading up to the pizza hut on the second floor is quite narrow. The two rise together. Apart from this, there are food shops in the entire building. Among them are Old Terrace, Movenpick, Dosa Express, Pizza Berg Cafe, Osteria, The Dumpling Hut. There is only one lift and one staircase in the building. Although there is a narrow steel staircase at the back of the building, it is not for customers. It was found that the staircase up to the sixth floor was filled with LPG cylinders and garbage. Most of the restaurants in this building have nominal fire-fighting measures after the recent raids. However, no permission has been taken from RAJUK or City Corporation to run the restaurant business. No firefighting equipment other than fire balls and extinguisher cylinders were seen at Cafe Osterio. There is an emergency exit staircase through the kitchen but it is unusable. Garbage is seen lying on and outside the stairwell. Also, there is a dangerous situation in keeping gas cylinders on the stairs. The same situation was observed in the exit stairwell of each restaurant.
Asked to know, Pizza Berg restaurant manager Rakib Hasan told that we have arranged fire balls, alarms and cylinders for firefighting. However, the building’s emergency staircase is the matter of the building owner. According to fire service and city corporation sources, there is no permission to have a restaurant in this building. However, how are these restaurants running, people who come to eat here ask.
After the fire incident on Bailey Road, the Fire Service and Civil Defense declared the building as a fire hazard after raiding Carey Crescent Tower at Jigatala Junction in Dhanmondi. And the city corporation sealed the building on March 4. However, after 15 days, Carey Crescent Tower was re-launched by managing the City Corporation. The restaurant business is running on all but three floors of this 12-storey building. These include 10 restaurants including Crush Station, Park & Snark, Savory Green Cafe, Capital Launch, Platinum Club, Swadeshi and Cafe Grumblers. None of these restaurants have a fire service license or permit. Restaurants have no safety measures other than fire extinguishers, fire balls and cylinders. This building has two elevators and two staircases. Extinguisher cylinders are located in front of the stairs of each floor. Crush station manager Nasim Ahmed told that strengthening fire safety measures is a matter for building owners and restaurant owners. We work here. A few days ago, the police came and arrested the staff of each restaurant. They spent 10 days in jail. What is our fault here!
‘Rupayan Z R Plaza’ on Sat Masjid Road. There are 13 restaurants in this 12-storey building. These are – Dhanmondi Kebab & Restaurant, Buffet Lounge, Allous, The Buffet Empire, Mumbai Express, Daimasu Restaurant, Fascino, Handi, Lava Restaurant, The Dark Cafe & Restaurant, Buffet Paradise, Allous Gourmet and Saqib Restaurant.
The building has two elevators and two staircases. However, the emergency exit stairs are at the back. Next to this staircase on each floor are the kitchens of various restaurants. As a result, the exit staircase is not suitable for the use of guests in the restaurant. Garbage was seen to be kept at the stairwell of every restaurant. There are several LPG cylinders in the kitchens. As a result, in the event of a fire accident, there is a danger that the fire will spread in an instant.
Imperial Amin Ahmed Center is just opposite Rupayan ZR Plaza. There are 15 restaurants and lounges in this building. These include- The Forest Lounge, Buffet Express, The Cafe Rio, Ambrosia Infinity Lounge, The Great Kebab Factory, The Buffet Stories, Grand Lounge, Dhaba, Garlic in Ginger and Handi. Apart from this, there is a showroom of electronics on the ground floor of this building. Some floors also have showrooms of fashion houses. The building’s electricity, gas and fire safety systems have been beefed up following the Bailey Road fire. LPG gas has been taken from the ground floor to the kitchens of various restaurants above through pipes. However, most restaurants have fire extinguisher balls and cylinders but lack other fire safety measures.
KB (Keramat Ali Bhuiyan) Square is one of the famous buildings for restaurant business on Sat Masjid Road. The 13-storey building has more than 13 restaurants. There are clothing shops on the ground floor and second floor of the building. The passage leading to the elevator or stairs on the ground floor is about two and a half meters wide. Customers have to move in heaps. To the left of the elevator is the emergency exit stairwell door. On entering, it can be seen that several LPG cylinders are kept there. There are also two other restaurant kitchens. As a result, it will not be easy for people to get out in case of a fire accident. Each floor of this building has fire extinguishers, fire alarms and buckets of sand. However, if there is a fire, these are not enough for safety, said the concerned.
Rajuk says no restaurant is allowed in KB Plaza. Rahatul Islam, the owner of the cave restaurant, said that we have taken all measures as per the instructions of the fire service. Fire permission is also taken.
Capital Development Authority (Rajuk) chief urban planner (ongoing duty) Md. Ashraful Islam told that after the fire at the Green Cozy Cottage building on Bailey Road, the police, Rajuk and fire services jointly raided various restaurants. Later, due to the petition of the Restaurant Owners Association, the campaign was suspended by an inter-ministerial decision. The restaurant owner’s association said they will soon ensure fire safety measures and provide a list of at-risk restaurants. But they still haven’t given it.
This officer of Rajuk said that there is no permission to operate a restaurant in any building of Dhanmondi. However, 10 to 15 percent of a residential or commercial building can be a restaurant. No problem with that. The risk increases if the restaurant occupies the entire building. In this regard, Rajuk, City Corporation and Fire Service can go together again for the operation, said this official.
Dhaka South City Corporation Chief Property Officer (Deputy Secretary) Qaizer Mohammad Farabitold that some restaurants and buildings were closed after the raid in Dhanmondi area. Later they opened them following the rules. He claimed that fire safety measures have been strengthened in most of the restaurants. On the question whether it is sufficient, he said, it will be looked into in coordination with the fire service.
Director (Operation and Maintenance) of Fire Service and Civil Defense Department Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Tajul Islam Chowdhury told, “There are more than four lakh restaurants in the whole country including Dhaka. Among them, about two hundred and fifty restaurants have fire licenses. Most buildings do not have the environment to run a restaurant. We have inspected them and given instructions on what kind of fire safety measures need to be taken. However, most do not obey that directive. Specially building owners are not paying attention to fire safety. As a result, the restaurants are not taking strong action.

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