The authorities of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) on Tuesday distributed 291 makeshift stalls among the fire victims of the DNCC Kitchen Market in Gulshan 1.
DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq handed temporary property deeds to the victims at a programme on the market premises 43 days after the massive fire erupted had erupted there, while rent was fixed at Tk2000 for each stall.
“The destructive fire has robbed businessmen of everything that they had invested here. We cannot give back what they have lost, but we can help the victims to stand again and start doing business,” Mayor Annisul Huq said at the inauguration of the Kitchen Market organised by the DNCC.
A devastating fire erupted at the market between 1:30am and 2am on January 2, resulting in the collapse of the two-storey Kitchen Market and losses amounting to more than Tk500cr, a source said.
According to the mayor, the DNCC made the decision to allow the shopkeepers rent free use for the first three months after considering the current condition of the victims.
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The new sheds at the DNCC Market premises are only meant to allow traders to do business until the permanent building is completed Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
“The city corporation will look after these makeshift shops until a permanent multi-storey building is built to reallocate the fire victim traders,” the mayor said at the programme with DNCC Chief Executive Officer Md Mesbahul Islam in chair.
Md Mesbahul said that the officers and employees of DNCC would cordially continue working for the affected traders.
“The fire incident was as a cause of pain for all officials in the City Corporation. Today, we have managed 291 makeshift shops for the victims to continue trading, while in future they will be relocated to a permanent building,” the DNCC CEO said.
While visiting the site, three separate sheds made of wood, bamboo, tripoly and plastic have been found, in which traders have already started business. The ground floor traders of the two-storey Kitchen Market were relocated to the east of the market under Block C, while the first floor traders were placed at the north and west of the market under Block A and B respectively.
Mohsin Sarker, a masala trader of the DNCC Kitchen Market, told the Dhaka Tribune that they had begun trading from Saturday after getting an allotment from the DNCC authorities.
“Originally, it seemed that we would not be able to start business again after the fire incident took place. However, the City Corporation has come forward and provided makeshift stalls to continue our jobs. Now we are little bit more confident to carry out our business,” Mohsin told the Dhaka Tribune.
In 1983, erstwhile Pakistan government had established the Gulshan 1 DNCC market on 2.47 acres of land. Faults were found in several beams and columns of the building in 2002 that stopped authorities from carrying out construction on second and third floors of the market, a source said.
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) declared the building as risky in a report in 2013, the source added.