Mahfuja Mukul: Recently, several incidents of fire and explosions in different parts of the country including the capital have shaken the concerned people. The fire service alleges that no law enforcement agencies were present before the accident. The organization says that in various incidents, the investigation reports and recommendations of the Fire Service and Civil Defense are not taken into consideration by the concerned people including
the Rajdhani Unnyan Kartipakha (RAJUK), City Corporation.
When an accident occurs in the capital, an investigation committee is formed, the relevant organizations bring forward the issue of the damaged building-market not having permission or being dangerous. Also, officials from related departments including Fire Service, Rajuk and City Corporation are present in the inter-ministerial meeting. The inter-ministerial officials listened to the accounts and plans of the work of all the departments there. But most of those plans are allegedly confined to paper.
Whenever there is a fire or explosion in the capital, an investigation committee is formed by Rajuk and City Corporation. List of illegal buildings announced. But its actual activities are not seen by anyone. Due to this, similar incidents are happening again and again, the concerned people think.
An official of the fire service said that the fire service has an MoU agreement with the city corporation and WASA. They assist the fire service in any need. Wasa has helped with the Bangabazar fire by providing a lot of water. They can take advice or recommendations from the fire service if they want. But the fire service cannot ask these agencies to do anything.
On February 19, the fire of a 12-storey building in Gulshan 2 of the capital was brought under control in a four-hour effort by 19 units of the fire service, along with members of the air force and the army. On February 26, there was a fire in the capital’s Karail slum, followed by an explosion in a building in the science lab area of Dhanmondi on March 5. Two days later, on March 7, 26 people died and hundreds were injured in an explosion at Cafe Queen in Siddiqbazar. On March 27, a fire broke out in a seven-story slum in the capital’s Mohakhali and a sweeper colony adjacent to Jayakali Mandir in Kaptanbazar. Finally, yesterday Dhaka New Market burnt by a devastating fire.
On March 27, a fire broke out in a seven-story slum in the capital’s Mohakhali and a sweeper colony adjacent to Jayakali Mandir in Kaptanbazar. Last April 4, thousands of traders lost their lives in a terrible fire in the capital’s Bangabazar market.
In 2022, Fire Service and Civil Defense inspected residential, commercial, hospital, industrial and other high-rise buildings. The organization inspected 5,869 public and private buildings across the country including the capital. Among them there are 1337 government and 4532 private buildings. Among these, satisfactory fire safety certificates were given to 3097 buildings. And 1,606 buildings were declared ‘dangerous’ in terms of fire safety. Besides, 617 buildings have been declared ‘extremely risky’ in terms of fire safety.
According to this report, Chittagong division tops the list of most dangerous buildings in terms of fire safety, 463 buildings. Then Dhaka Division 136. But the list of buildings at risk of fire safety is heavy in Dhaka Division, 499. And Chittagong division has 477 in the second position. Mymensingh division is in a satisfactory position in the fire safety high risk and risk list. Then Sylhet and Rangpur division.
An official of the fire service said that the fire service has formed seven teams to inspect the list of high-risk and dangerous buildings and markets in the capital. This includes a special team. They have started the work of inspecting all the markets of the capital. Inspection work on building and market fire safety will be completed by May. This time, NSI-DGFI detectives and law enforcement officers are participating in the inspection along with the fire service.
In fire service’s list of high risk and high risk for fire safety were – Bangabazar Market, Rajdhani Market, Gulistan, Patal Market, New Market, Gauchia Market, Sadarghat Garments Accessories and Clothing Market, Khilgaon Taltala Supermarket, Mohammadpur Town Hall Auditorium and Shopping Complex Market, Kawran Bazar Raw Market. Some other markets and residential buildings including Market and Gulshan Rawalpindi Market.
Last year there were 7,263 fire incidents in residential multi-storied buildings, shopping malls and markets. That’s about one-third of all fires that year. The amount of damage is Tk 83 crore 6 lakh 34 thousand 630. And the amount of recovery is Tk 642 crore 94 lakh 30 thousand 802.
Last year, a report on design approvals and no-objection clearances related to fire safety plans of the fire service in the capital showed that 946 no-objection clearances were granted for proposed multi-storied residential and commercial buildings. And 933 no-objection clearances were given for existing buildings.
It is said that after talking to several officials of the fire service, warnings and recommendations have been given to the relevant authorities regarding fire safety and high-risk buildings and markets. But they cannot say why they were not implemented. Apart from this, meetings have been held with Rajuk, City Corporation and other stakeholders at different times of the year. There, the matter was brought up by the fire service in fire safety, but later it was no longer useful.
According to fire service sources, 136 high-risk and 499 high-risk buildings and markets have been informed about fire safety in the capital. Apart from this, notices have been issued many times directly in buildings and markets. A notice provides a timeline. After that time passed, the inspection was again given by the fire service. But these warnings, notices and recommendations are of no use. It is everyone’s job to ensure the safety of an incident before it happens. But that is not happening.
An official of the fire service said about Bangabazar market, Dhaka South City Corporation is the owner of this market. Here the fire service cannot directly notify the city corporation. Notice is given to the Market Management Committee. But they did not take any action. There are many buildings that come under Rajuk. Rajuk cannot be directly notified there. The fire service is notified to the building owner. Besides, some matters were informed to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
DSCC Regional-1 Executive Officer Marina Nazneen told Bangla Tribune that because of the danger of fire, Dhaka South City Corporation has also given six notices to the traders of Bangbazar Market to leave. Because after the fire in 1995, the plan was passed to construct the building there and the contractor was also appointed. But later the work was stopped as the businessmen appealed to the high quota.
When asked what kind of legal action can be taken by the fire service if they do not heed the fire hazard buildings and markets, Director General (DG) of Fire Service and Civil Defense Brigadier General Main Uddin told Bangla Tribune that the fire service can take any legal action. no There is nothing to do except to inform the authorities. Apart from this, I talked about this issue with Rajuk again and again.
Apart from this, I talked about this issue with Rajuk again and again. Again, next week, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Fire Service and Rajuk are scheduled to sit in the meeting.
DG Brigadier General Main Uddin said, according to what is covered by the fire service law, the fire service signs are installed at the main gate of all the buildings and markets that are at risk of fire.
Even then, the organizations which say that they were not given notice or warning by the fire service, will tell them when danger signboards are put up at the main gate of a building and market. Rajuk and other organizations do not see that! The fire service is doing what the law covers. Signboards are being hung in fire hazard buildings and markets across the country including the capital.
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