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22 February, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Chawkbazar tragedy

Chawkbazar tragedy

It is shocking that the nation had to begin paying tribute to the language martyrs this year with a large fire incident, this time also in old part of Dhaka. Eighty-one people were killed and at least 50 others suffered injuries in the tragedy. The number of deaths even may rise. According to locals, the blaze occurred at Razzak Bhabon at Churihatta area of Chawkbazar at around 10 pm. After 1 am the fire went out of control and spread to five other nearby buildings. After frantic efforts, 32 units of Fire Service personnel managed to douse the flame at around 3 in the morning. Many of the dead bodies were identified and handed over to their relatives. Our sympathies go to the members of the bereaved families.

The fatal fire incident at Nimtoli in Old Dhaka that had claimed 123 lives in 2010 was a wake-up call for the government. The fire had been fuelled by chemicals and other flammable products stored in shops. The density of the residential area made it difficult for firefighters to control the blaze. After this catastrophic incident the relevant authorities swung into action but that was short-lived. The follow-up programmes did not see the light of day. It is very unfortunate.

Fires destroy property and valuables worth millions of taka in the country every year. Most of the fire incidents occur during the dry season. After the Nimtoli tragedy the government issued a directive to shift all chemical warehouses out of the old part of the city, but not a single one was relocated. It shows that the keepers of the highly combustible chemicals do not have minimum respect for rule of law of the country. Many warehouse owners got away after paying fines. As if they got license to carry on their illegal business disregarding the administration.    

The owners of warehouses containing inflammable chemicals should be reined in immediately. The government must force the traders to shift their warehouses from the residential areas in the quickest possible time. Owing to lack of accountability, the departments concerned have totally failed to remove such businesses from residential areas across the country, especially in the old part of Dhaka city. The government should show zero tolerance to the people whose lackadaisical attitude is triggering fatal fires costing so many lives.    

 

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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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