• Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019
  • Last Update : 12:59 am

A lesson we should have learned by now

  • Published at 11:25 pm February 22nd, 2019
Rubble
SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

Why does the industry continue to boast a complete lack of safety standards?

When a fire broke out in Old Town’s Nimtoli in 2010, killing more than a 120 people in the process, we should have learned our lesson.

Unfortunately, we did not and, as a result, nine years later, nearly 80 people are now dead because of our inability to make this country safe for its people.

The tragedy of Wednesday’s fire at Chawkbazar is not merely in the number of people who perished and the dozens of others injured, it is in the fact that it was in no way different to the Nimtoli tragedy -- in both cases, the fire spread and went out of control because of the flammable chemicals present at the site. 

The questions are obvious: When it comes to dangerous chemicals such as these, why is there an utter lack of regulations from the government to control its storage and transport? Why does the industry continue to boast a complete lack of safety standards? Why are the people in charge of these chemicals allowed to put innocent lives at risk with such absolutely impunity?

The fire at Chawkbazar, like all other fires in the area, continue to highlight the culture of negligence involved in the practice, with the streets of Old Dhaka not even wide enough for fire trucks to go through in case of emergencies such as this. 

While we commend the government’s financial support to the victims, and the four committees which have been set up to investigate the incident, there is no question that changes should have been made sooner. 

Enough of our people have died. It is time to act and prevent such a tragedy from taking place ever again.