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Speakers call for policy guidelines to stop recurring fire incidents

  • Published at 10:38 pm March 30th, 2019
Speakers at a discussion meeting on safe chemical management systems on DCCI premises in the capital on March 30, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

 They urged the formulation of conducive policy guidelines for chemical management systems

Speakers at a meeting on Saturday urged conducive policy guidelines for chemical management systems, chemical management planning, training, and monitoring to stop the recurring fire incidents.

The suggestion came from a discussion meeting on "Safe Chemical Management System: Post Chawkbazar Preparations" at the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). The meeting  was organized by the DCCI at its auditorium.

Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation, Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, was present as chief guest, while director general of Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence, Brigadier General Md. Sazzad Hussain, was a special guest. DCCI President Osama Taseer chaired the meeting.  

Mohammad Sayeed Khokon said that as demanded by businessmen, a satellite fire station near the Babubazar bridge can be established for taking rapid action against fires if needed. He also said the government is soon going to establish a 'Chemical Palli' under BEZA at Sirajdikhan in Munshigonj.

He said that Old Dhaka has a long heritage and its contribution to the economy and business is very significant. He also requested the Fire Service and Civil Defence to investigate the recent fire incidents. A Task Force has been formed after the Chawkbazar fire incident and it will consult businessmen before taking any decisions.

“A team of volunteers of about 30,000 people has been there in Old Dhaka but the  Fire Service and Civil Defence has to give them proper fire fighting training,”he added.

Sirajur Rahman, Chief Chemical Management Specialist, Engineering Resource International (ERI), presented the keynote paper. He said, in Bangladesh, businesses worth about Tk16,000 crore, directly or indirectly involve chemicals. For safe chemical management, a safety data sheet should be published in Bangla too. He also said that training is needed to understand safety data sheet as some of the terms are not familiar to common people.

He suggested there should be policy guidelines, chemical management planning, training, and monitoring. He said the Chawkbazar fire incident is a lesson for us.

DCCI President Osama Taseer said the demand for chemicals in Bangladesh is worth about $2.5 billion a year and is increasing 8% yearly. About 800 types of chemicals are  sold in Old Dhaka. The Nimtoli and Churihatta incidents indicate that our chemical management system is not up to mark. Like the Hazaribag tannery industry, the chemical shops and stores of Old Dhaka may be shifted out of Dhaka upon consultation with businessmen in Old Dhaka.

He also urged rapid implementation of  a "Chemical Palli" which the government is establishing on 50 acres of land.

He said for safe chemical management, we have to train people engaged in this business, and DCCI with the support from Fire Service department is interested to arrange such training. Awareness is also important for both chemical businessmen and those who handle these flammable items, he said. Osama Taseer suggested creating a Chemical Management and Safety Coordination Committee comprising of researchers, scientists, industry and government.

He also urged the formation of a Chemical Policy in order to create a safe national  chemical infrastructure. 

Brigadier General Md. Sazzad Hussain said that in order to mitigate devastating fire incidents, proper training, drills, creating awareness, formulating policies and  implementing them, are needed. He said a 20-member Hazmat Team is on standby at the Fire Service headquarters.

He also underscored the importance of having some satellite fire stations in Old Dhaka with adequate underground water storage facilities . Moreover he emphasized creating mass awareness about firefighting among people.  

Speakers urged the formulation of conducive policy guidelines for chemical management systems.

Former Senior Vice President, DCCI Alhaj Abdus Salam, former Vice President M Abu Hurairah, General Secretary of Bangladesh Paints, Dyes and Chemical Merchant Association, Kamal Ahmed, Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Chemical and Perfume Merchants Association, Md Liakot Ali Babu, General Secretary Arif Hossain, and Joint General Secretary Md Shafiqul Islam Milon, took part in the open discussion session.

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