National, Front Page

7 govt agencies to blame

Eco-warriors vocal against blazes

Published : 05 Mar 2024 10:38 PM

Three leading environmentalist organisations on Tuesday held seven government agencies mainly responsible for frequent fire incidents, including the devastating one at Bailey Road in the capital.

They made the allegation at a press conference titled ‘Building Dangerous Cities: What to Do in the Future’ at the National Press Club in capital Dhaka.

They said these agencies are responsible for these fires as fire incidents are still occurring in different buildings and installations.

These are happening due to the violation of law, and lack of proper supervision, the speakers said.

The government agencies including RAJUK,  Dhaka North City Corporation, Dhaka South City Corporation, Fire Service and Civil Defence, utility  service providers—WASA, TITAS, DPDC,DESA, law enforcing agencies and above all, the building owners are responsible, they alleged. Bangladesh Poribesh

Andolon (BAPA), Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) jointly organized the press conference.

BAPA vice-president architect Iqbal Habib read out a written statement. 

He said, “1 lakh 90 thousand 167 fire incidents have occurred in the last 9 years across the country. 1 thousand 51 people were killed and 3 thousand 606 were injured in these incidents.”

 Unauthorized, illegal buildings, illegal land use and lack of 

supervision by concerned government agencies are the main causes of fire incidents across the country, including in capital Dhaka, he continued.

He also said, certificates from 10 organizations are required for setting up a restaurant in the capital city. 

Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation give  e-license. The Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka gives restaurant licenses. The Civil Surgeon office gives license registration while Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments also gives establishment license, National Revenue Board provides VAT registration certificate.

 Fire Service and Civil Defense Directorate gives fire license and Environment Directorate gives locational clearance.

He further said, the present worse situation has arisen due to the fact that these agencies had provided licenses without proper examination and supervision. 

After analyzing at least 9 major fires and explosions in the capital Dhaka in the last five years, it was seen that after the accidents, the government agencies in charge of oversight tried to exonerate themselves from their responsibilities by blaming each other. 

Very few cases were filed following the fire incident. But there was no single   example of punishment against those responsible for the major fire incidents.

Other speakers alleged that in every fire incident, there was evidence of negligence, mismanagement and unpreparedness of the authorities regarding fire safety.