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PM: Old Dhaka chemical depots couldn’t be removed due to owners’ unwillingness

  • Published at 10:59 am February 23rd, 2019
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks to the media after visiing the survivors of the Chawkbazar fire incident that were admitted to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital on Saturday; February 23, 2019 Focus Bangla

Sheikh Hasina also puts emphasis on restructuring the roads and by-lanes of Old Dhaka to ensure firefighting vehicles’ easy access

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said it was regretful that the chemical warehouses in Old Dhaka could not be relocated because of the reluctance of the owners.

"The government wanted to construct ultramodern warehouses with all facilities in Keraniganj for preserving chemicals. As the owners were not ready to go there, the project could not be implemented... This is the most regretful matter," she told reporters after visiting the victims of Chawkbazar fire at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) in the morning.

The government had taken the project to construct these new depots in Keraniganj after the devastating fire incident at Nimtoli in Old Dhaka in June 2010, the prime minister said.

"We had prepared a project and selected a place in Keraniganj... We had discussions with all stakeholders to relocate the chemical warehouses from here to the new place so that incidents like the Nimtoli tragedy do not occur in Old Dhaka aagin," she said.

But, she regretted, many of the warehouse owners showed reluctance in shifting to the new place. "It's unfortunate that still there are chemical godowns in Old Dhaka despite repeated drives against it.”

Hasina urged all concerned to extend their all-out cooperation in removing chemical warehouses from Old Dhaka.

She said it would be most urgent to construct such depots with modern facilities for preserving chemicals where the owners will get their desired services.

Regarding the announcement of mourning day, the prime minister said she will discuss the matter with the cabinet secretary on Sunday.

She said the government has taken all-out efforts for the treatment of the fire victims as the country now has the most modern medical facilities for such victims. "We will do whatever is needed for their treatment."

Also Read- Fire strikes Old Dhaka again: 67 killed in Chawkbazar inferno

She said the government will implement the project to remove the chemical godowns from Old Dhaka to Keraniganj so that Old Dhaka could avoid such devastating fire incidents in future.

Restructuring Old Dhaka lanes

Sheikh Hasina on Saturday also put emphasis on restructuring the roads and by-lanes of Old Dhaka so that firefighting vehicles could enter during any fire incident.

"Let's make it sure that the ponds and canals are not filled... These have to be preserved for future purpose," she said.

She came down heavily on a section of television journalists for their attitude that caused obstructions to firefighters in carrying out their duties during the incident on Wednesday night.

"They (TV reporters) are asking questions one after another. I do not thing that was the perfect time for asking questions. How you (TV reporters) are expecting answers from them (firefighters)? So many types of questions! Was that the time for asking questions?" she asked.

The prime minister requested the people who usually gather during such incidents not to put obstacles to the works of firefighters. "You could bring some water or sand while coming to the place of incident... That would be a little bit of help for all."

She thanked all, including firefighters, doctors and other concerned, for acting promptly during the fire incident.

Arriving at the DMCH at 10:30am, Hasina directly went to the ICU of the Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute to see the conditions of the nine critically injured people who are undergoing treatment there.

She also talked the family members of the injured and consoled them, saying the government will do everything necessary for their proper treatment.

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