• 21 killed in wave of Baghdad attacks
  • 22 cops hurt in Sundarganj Jamaat-Shibir attack
  • US spies to remain 'interested' in foreign govts: Obama
  • 20 Pakistan soldiers killed as bomb hits military convoy
  • Court denies bail to Oishi
  • BNP pledges to oust AL govt: Fakhrul
  • Dhaka for revival of trans-shipment treaty with New Delhi
  • Bail petitions of Khokon, Shammi rejected
  • Cox’s Bazar Int’l Airport works begin in 3 months
  • Two Gazans hurt as Israel strike targets Islamic Jihad
  • HC grants four-week bail to Hallmark’s Jesmine
  • HC asks Tarique to surrender
  • Rangpur 6 by-poll on Feb 20
  • Dhaka gets facelift ahead of T20 World Cup Cricket
  • 102 upazila parishad polls Feb 19
  • Yusuf’s men killed 60 or 65 villagers: witness
  • HC asks police not to show five BNP leaders arrested in any cases without due process
  • President stresses early resolution of pending issues with India
  • 18-party set to hold rally in city
Print Friendly and PDF

Playing with fire, literally

THE fire at a chemicals warehouse at Becharam Deuri on January 15 provides a clear indication of very little progress insofar as the government’s plan to relocate chemicals warehouses, factories and shops from the densely-populated Old Dhaka is concerned although more than three years and a half has elapsed since the Nimtali inferno on June 3, 2010, which left at least 124 people killed. It is worth noting that a task force commissioned by the government in the wake of the tragedy came up with a 19-point recommendation for relocation of these establishments from Old Town. It is also worth noting that an inter-ministerial meeting, chaired by the then home minister, in April 2011 assigned two committees—one for selecting the relocation site and the other for framing relocation guidelines—to come up with suggestion in line with the task force’s recommendations. While the site selection committee, as its head was quoted in a report published in New Age on Saturday as claiming, submitted its report in stipulated time, proposing Keraniganj as the relocation site, there has been little progress since.
Although a member of the Bangladesh Chemicals and Perfumery Merchants’ Association claimed that a number of owners have already shifted their factories to other areas on their own, many buildings at Nawab Katra, Bangshal, Siddique Bazar, Babu Bazar, Islambagh and Armanitola still house chemical factories and stores. Frighteningly still, according to fire service and civil defence officials, there have been a number of factory fires in the area since the Nimtali inferno. Little wonder that the residents of Old Town live in constant fear of a recurrence of a devastating fire. One needs to keep in mind that the buildings in Old Dhaka have been built in dangerously close proximity with each other. Moreover, the roads and lanes there are generally narrow that make vehicular movement quite challenging. As such, in case of a fire, the flame could spread across the area within a very short time and the fire fighters would find it difficult to even access the area, let alone effectively carry out their operation. With many of the buildings still housing chemicals factories, warehouses and stores, it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the entire area may be sitting on a ticking bomb.
The government needs to realise that it may be endangering the lives of hundreds, even thousands, by dithering over relocation of chemicals factories, warehouses and stores from Old Town. Hence, it needs to act effectively and act now.

Reader’s Comment

comments powered by Disqus

Playing with fire, literally

THE fire at a chemicals warehouse at Becharam Deuri on January... Full story

Pvt univs need to be streamlined

IT’S been more than two decades since the Private University Act... Full story

Sham election and new govt: what next?

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia addresses a media conference at Westin Hotel in the capital on January 15. — New Age/Sanaul Haque
Khaleda Zia shunned tough and thorny agitation programmes and instead proposed gatherings, protest marches and black flag demonstration. It would be revealing to see if the regime, so far dreadfully short on tolerance and forbearance... Full story

Role of foreign diplomats in Dhaka

THE diplomats represent their states. They are the representatives of their heads of state. They bring a letter of accreditation from their heads of state and hand over the same to the head of the state they are accredited to. Full story
  • Online Poll

    Do you think that the government has successfully brought back normalcy in public life after the January 5 elections?

    • Yes
    • No
    • No comment
    Ajax Loader