Golam Mostafa Jibon: Low-quality of electric cables or wires and different other equipments have turned into death trap. But, there is no headache of the authorities concerned.
Fire accidents happen every day somewhere in the country including the capital. In addition to the huge loss of life, the amount of economic loss is not decreasing.
The fire at BM Container Depot in Sitakunda of Chattogram was the latest and highest sensitive incident in the country.
According to fire service data, in the first five months of this year (January-May), 888 people died and 7,301 people were injured in fires across the country. If the financial loss is calculated, it will exceed thousands of crores of Taka.
Fake and low-quality electric wires, cables, plugs, switches, sockets and other electrical equipments have flooded the market, which is the main reason behind these terrible fires. The fear of fire accidents is increasing due to fake electrical products.
According to those concerned, various electrical appliances are responsible for about 75 to 80 percent of the fire incidents.
Various categories of electrical wires-cables, overhead contactors, transmitters and other equipments are required for the flow of electricity. Almost hundred percent of these are produced and supplied by various private organizations. But in fact there is no verification, selection, review of the correct quality of cables products.
On the other hand, due to non-monitoring of raw material quantity, import duty and bargaining, VAT-tax evasion remains a major concern. Every year, due to the use of electrical equipment made of low-quality raw materials, there are incidents of fire, breakdown, power system loss and short circuit in the country. Only lack of proper monitoring and control is going to create unequal competition and monopolistic groups in this industry. Unscrupulous traders are making whatever they want by evading huge amounts of VAT.
According to Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI) sources, currently 18 companies have license to manufacture cables, eight companies for switch-sockets and 38 companies have licenses to manufacture fans. Besides, only 22 companies have licenses to manufacture other electrical equipments. However, it can be seen on the ground that there are hundreds of institutions in the capital itself. In many areas of the capital including Banshal, Nawabpur, Siddikbazar, Jinjira, Jatrabari and Demra, fake and low-quality electrical equipment manufacturing factories have been established. These fake products are being marketed using the logo of the expensive brand in a new packaging. A large part of low quality products is also coming from outside the country. Domestic and foreign electronic products of any company are being copied. There is no harm in taking BSTI’s approval. In many cases, BSTI officials have also been accused of suppressing the matter with financial benefits.
Analyzing the nature of major fires and investigation reports, the fire service said that, most of the fires are caused by electrical disturbances. That is, due to the use of low-quality electrical equipment, fire accidents easily occur due to short circuit. The main cause of fire in residential buildings and industrial establishments is the use of low-quality electrical equipment. Besides, another major cause of fire is bidi-cigarettes and cooking stoves.
According to the information of the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defense, in the first five months of 2022 (January-May), 888 people died and 7,301 people were injured in fires in the country.
Among them, 235 people died and 1,301 people were injured in May alone. Besides, Bangladesh experienced 219 deaths and 570 injuries in 2021, 154 deaths and 386 injuries in 2020, 185 deaths and 586 injuries in 2019, 130 deaths in 2018. Those concerned say that customers are not only suffering financially by buying fake electric cables, but it is creating a death trap. Fire service sources said, 75 to 80 percent of recent fires are caused by substandard electrical wiring and electrical equipment.
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