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19 February, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Fire safety at slums

Fire safety at slums

It is greatly distressing to see the carnage caused by fire at a slum in Chattogram. Reportedly, nine persons, including two minors, were killed, and 200 shanties gutted. People living at the lower end of the income strata were the victims and several families have lost the very little that they possessed. There is a rumour that the fire was caused as part of a conspiracy and to find out the real reason of the accident, a probe committee has also been formed. Obviously, the loss of lives and property of people who earn their livelihoods by hard labour is disturbing, but it’s time the authority looked deeper into slums and shanty towns to detect issues which are always swept aside.

It’s found that the slum in Chattogram, which faced a fire incident, was controlled by a Jubo League leader, who, along with his cohorts, allocated lands to people and took rent from them. The land in question is occupied, which means that the entire operation is unlawful. For argument’s sake, even if one accepts the occupation of land and running of slums, the lack of basic safety features cannot be condoned in any way. The slum in question did not have gas therefore the homes used gas cylinders which exploded when they were exposed to a blazing fire.

If the shanty town had its own water reservoir plus other basic fire extinguishing materials then damage could have been lower. While development agencies work to bring education, sanitation and health care facilities to slums they hardly focus on making shanty towns safer by providing fire-fighting equipment and adequate training to the residents.

If development agencies cannot help then the government can ask big corporate houses to unite to provide separate fire service facilities to slums. If shanty towns across the country have small fire stations funded and supported either by development bodies or by corporate giants, safety levels of residents will go up considerably. Unfortunately, with the blessing of political godfathers, many unlawful activities go on with very little attention given to the safety and security of commoners.

The government has to firmly sever all ties with elements that exploit political relations and immediately order all district administrations to provide safety equipment at slums.  

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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