Golam Mostafa Jibon: Though, country’s people are experiencing frequent furious fire incidents at different places in the country including Old Dhaka and Narayanganj, bulk portion of the chemical warehouses is yet to remove from Old Dhaka even after putting several pledges by the authorities concerned.
Observing the situation, question has been intensified among the elite people that when will the chemical warehouses be removed from Old Dhaka?
Sources said, fire tragedy is being noticed again and again by the city dwellers. In the latest incident, five workers were killed in a devastating fire that broke out at a shoe factory at Kamalbagh in Soarighat on Thursday last.
According to the sources of fire service and civil defense, the fire originated from chemicals kept inside the factory.
All the workers were sleeping in the factory at the time of the fire. The main gate of the factory was closed during the tragic incident. Some of the workers were able to come out, while five did not get a chance to get out. When firefighters rescued them after extinguishing the fire, all five burned to coals.
Rescuers said, the workers were housed on a deck on the ground floor of the factory’s two-story building. There was no fire extinguishing system. The fire quickly escalated as chemical drums and rubber stocks were stored on the ground floor. A probe body has also been formed to investigate into the incident of Soarighat.
Earlier on June 3 in 2010, at least 124 people were killed in the Nimtali fire and 78 people in the Churihatta fire in Chawkbazar on February 20 in 2019.
Despite the increase the number of explosions from chemical stockpiles in various factories in the country, questions are being raised about the activities of the concerned departments and officials.
When the administration failed to take the Nimtali tragedy as a ‘wake-up call’, it had a painful repetition in Churihatta. After the Nimtali tragedy, drive for removal of the chemical warehouses was started for eyewash, but it was stopped within few days. After the Churihatta fire incident in Old Dhaka’s Chawkbazar, several agencies formed at that time to investigate the cause made some urgent recommendations in the investigation reports. Those included the removal of combustible godowns, the gradual relocation of residents to the narrow streets of Old Dhaka, the steps taken for planned urbanization and proper management of gas-electricity-water-telephone lines.
But,none of those has been implemented at all except making assurances. If these recommendations are not implemented, it will not be possible to prevent the tragedy of Old Dhaka in anyway, experts said.
Brigadier General Md Sazzad Hossain, Director General of the Fire Service and Civil Defense said,”The safety issues of the workers in the factories are always neglected in our country. The owners of the industry basically focus on profits; they don’t focus on security of the workers. It is urgent to change this tendency. With the spread of industrialization in the country, such accidents will continue to occur, if the issue of safe working environment in the industrial sector is not given due importance.
Industrial owners and workers all will be benefited from factory renovations and ensuring fire safety to stop explosions. The concerned Department of Factory Inspection, industry owners and all concerned should be aware of these issues. Unfortunately, fires in Old Dhaka have become a regular phenomenon. But, none of the concerned authorities are following our recommendations.”
“Punitive action should be taken against the accused persons by identifying who was negligent in the incident of fire. Besides, compensation for the deceased workers and treatment of the injured should be ensured” he added.
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