Home Bangladesh Shopping malls-markets in capital are fireboxes
Bangladesh - March 2, 2024

Shopping malls-markets in capital are fireboxes

450 buildings extremely vulnerable

Mahfuja Mukul: There are 17 restaurants in the building that caught fire on Thursday night in the capital’s Bailey Road.But that building had no fire extinguishing system.Even if there was a staircase, it was packed with traders’ goods.Most of the time, there is a crowd in front of the only elevator in the area.
Directorate of Fire Service and Civil Defense says that the building owner has not taken any no-objection letter from them. Related experts say that most of such commercial buildings in the capital have no approval.
Only those buildings are listed when a fire has occurred.The campaign was carried out.But later they don’t speed up.Also, after the accident, one service company imposes liability on another service company. When attention was drawn to the lack of permission for the accident-prone building on Bailey Road, the secretary of the security services department of the Ministry of Home Affairs said.Abdullah Al Masud Chowdhury said on Friday, “Rajuk (Capital Development Authority) will look after the construction of the building or other things. “That’s what they should ask.’’
The Defense Services Secretary and the Director General of the Directorate of Fire Services and Civil Defense Brigadier General Md.Mine Uddinvisited the fire-ravaged building in Bailey Road.
He said that the owner of this building has been given three notices.But no action was taken. According to the relevant sources, a notice was given to the authorities on September 5, 2023 due to the fragile fire safety system of a restaurant on the eighth floor of the building.The notice asked them to take necessary security measures within 90 days.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief visited the building.The minister Mohibbur Rahman said that action will be taken against those illegal buildings.They will be listed and fixed under the law from Rajuk.
On April 15 last year, a fire broke out at the capital’s New Super Market.There was also a risk of fire in this market.The fire service wrote to the market owner association in this regard.But no one took any action.
In view of these incidents, the fire service visited 58 markets and shopping malls in the capital.Out of these, 9 are declared as high risk, 14 as medium risk and 35 as high risk.
Earlier on April 4, 2022, there was a fire in four markets in and around Bangabazar.Then the Director General of Fire Service said that in 2019, at least 10 letters were sent to traders declaring Bangabazar market dangerous.Notice was also given.Even banners are drawn in front of the market announcing the risk.But nothing worked.
Talking to fire service officials, it is known that 55 percent of buildings in Dhaka are at risk of fire.And the most at risk is the underground market.These buildings have been constructed without following the instructions of the fire service.There is no firefighting system in these buildings.The stairs are also not open.Shops-warehouses are placed on stairs in commercial buildings.
According to fire service information, 1,305 markets and buildings including Gausia Market, Noor Mansion, Rajdhani Super Market, Karwan Bazar Kitchen Market, Lily Plaza, Dhanmondi Hawkers Market are at risk of fire.
Of these, 450 buildings have been identified as extremely vulnerable.But it has been seen that all kinds of activities are still going on in these buildings. Experts say that the relevant departments of the government are not seen to take any effective action in the event of fire.Seeks to fix the blame through investigation and blaming each other.
The fire service only writes letters to the concerned authorities, but no one listens to anyone. Director of Fire Service and Civil Defense Directorate (Operation and Maintenance) Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Tajul Islam Chowdhury said that their operation is ongoing.They give repeated notices.Work to raise awareness.He said that their member who is working to put out the fire, is doing the survey again.
Architect Iqbal Habib said, these deaths and fires are mainly due to long-term negligence of organizations under six ministries.They have acted like an unforgivable crime by not complying with the relevant laws and regulations.This ‘murder’ happened because they did not behave responsibly.He also said, ‘The building where the fire took place was also given permission subject to a three-month condition from the Fire Service and the Ministry of Home Affairs.That approval was obtained by threats.So why don’t they take responsibility for this death?’ Iqbal Habib also said that a task force was formed from the Ministry of Public Works.But later it didn’t work anymore.Judicial action should be taken against these six companies.

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