July 16, 2024, 2:11 am

Removal of chemical warehouses from Old Dhaka is still a nightmare

  • Update Time : Sunday, April 25, 2021
  • 319 Time View
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Lack of proper monitoring, extreme negligence of the authorities concerned and absence of political will are the main reasons behind the failure of chemical warehouses’ shifting

Special Correspondent:

Despite several bitter experiences including deadly fire tragedy at Nimtoli and Churihatta, chemical warehouses are yet to remove from Old Dhaka that posing serious risk for the local residents.

A section of influential quarter is running brisk business of chemicals in the area after managing some unscrupulous officials of the authorities concerned.

Lack of proper monitoring, extreme negligence of the authorities concerned and absence of political will are the main reasons behind the failure of chemical warehouses’ shifting. Besides, lack of coordination between the utility service providing organizations like City Corporation, RAJUK, Fire Service and Civil Defense and BSCIC are also blamed for it, said speakers at a webinar.

The speakers came up with the remarks, while addressing a webinar arranged by Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA) on April 24 centering the deadly fire incident took place at Armanitola area in Old Dhaka on April 23 that claimed the lives of four persons and injured 20 others.

They said, “The government took the initiatives to shift the chemical warehouses to a safer place from Old Dhaka with a view to protect the residential area from further untoward incidents, but the effort went in vain due to huge negligence by the authorities concerned. Though, a few number of warehouses was shifted to Keraniganj and Munshiganj after Nimtoli and Churihatta tragedies, most of the chemical warehouses are running brisk business staying the previous station even after several drives. In addition, a good number of new warehouses have been set up in the area on the top of nose of the authorities concerned. Many of them have no appropriate license for running chemical business. There is no provision to carry such business in residential area. But, how they have been running such business in the area, that is now question, said speakers.

After the fire incident at Armanitola on April 23, a team of POBA led by its Chairman Abu Naser Khan visited the spot and found 16 chemical warehouses on the basement of the building, where the fire spread. They also found presence of various chemicals including acetic acid in the warehouses.

Terming the chemical warehouses like bombs, the team members surged the government to take immediate steps to remove the warehouses from the area.

They said, City Corporation authorities fail to evict the warehouses by conducting drives, while BSCIC fails to set up the proposed chemical industrial park at Munshiganj due to their negligence and irregularities. Consequently, city dwellers are facing severe fire incidents one after another.

It is to be mentioned that, four persons were killed and 20 others sustained burn injuries, while a devastating fire broke out at a multistoried building at Armanitola in Old Dhaka on April 23. The injured are undergoing treatment at different hospitals and clinics in the capital including DMCH.

Earlier on February 20 in 2019, another devastating fire that broke out at Churihatta claimed the lives of 78 persons and injured over 100 persons.  In 2010, at least 124 people were killed and over 100 sustained burn injuries, while a fire broke out at Nimtoli area in the city. After the incident, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the authorities concerned to take steps to remove the chemical warehouses to safer place. But the directive is yet to implement due to various bureaucratic complexities, they opined.

Former President of Bangladesh Chemical Society and former Professor of Dhaka University Dr. M, Muhibur Rahman. Editor of Poribesh Barta Ferdous Ahmed Uzzal, former Additional Director General of the Department of Environment and General Secretary of POBA Engineer Md. Abdus Sobhan, Lawyer and policy analyst Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin. Secretary General of POBA Barrister Nishat Mahmud addressed on the occasion, while Abu Naser Khan, Chairman of POBA presided over the program.


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