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Sitakunda container fire tragedy

HC orders probe to determine causes

Published : 11 Aug 2022 12:08 AM

The High Court has ordered formation of an investigation committee to probe the incident of fire at BM Container Depot at Sitakunda of Chattogram. 

The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo issued the order on Wednesday (August 10) after hearing a writ petition filed in this regard. 

According to the HC order, the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources will form this probe committee to be headed by a professor of Chemical Engineering Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) with other experts. 

The probe committee has been asked to determine the responsibility and cause of the fire incident and report it to the High Court within three months. 

The HC bench also issued a rule asking the government bodies concerned to explain in four weeks why they should not be directed to take legal action against the responsible persons for the fire incident and to pay adequate compensation to the family members of the deceased and injured persons. 

Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources, Secretary of the Home Ministry, Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Secretary of the Industries Ministry, Secretary of the Commerce Ministry, Director General of the Fire Service and Civil Defense Department, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Chattogram and other respondents have been asked to comply with the rule. 

Two human rights organisations, Law & Life Foundation Trust and CCB Foundation, filed the writ petition on June 29 also seeking HC directive to the authorities concerned to pay compensation of Tk 20 million to each family of the deceased and Tk 5 million to each injured victim of depot fire at Sitakunda. 

Barrister Humyaun Kabir Pallob and Advocate Md Emrul Kayesh Khan appeared before the court on behalf of the petitioner. 

As per the writ petition, at least 50 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire at BM Container Depot in Chattogram’s Sitakunda on June 4 this year. 

Theznumber of casualties in the fire increased due to the stockpiling of flammable chemicals by BM Container of Smart Group without disclosing it to the appropriate authorities. 

Many firefighters were killed and injured as the fire service did not have the necessary information on the chemicals which were stored there, it added. Besides, firefighters are unable to control fires caused by chemicals due to lack of necessary training and modern equipment, it said. 

Earlier, the Law and Life Foundation Trust and the CCB Foundation had served separate legal notices seeking compensation for the victims, said Barrister Pallab