• Friday, May 29, 2020
  • Last Update : 07:43 pm

A repeat offense

  • Published at 12:00 am February 24th, 2019
Chawkbazar
Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Why do we lack any form of safety regulations in these warehouses? 

We never learn from our mistakes, it seems.

The recent fire at Chawkbazar echoes the Nimtoli tragedy, still fresh in our memories -- an industrial fire that claimed more than 100 lives, and injured over a hundred more, in the city’s Old Dhaka area in June 2010.

The incident gave way to 17 recommendations made by a special enquiry committee that would have minimized, if not completely put a stop to, any further such fires.

That was almost 10 years ago.

As was expected, far from any of the recommendations being implemented, it is indeed worth questioning whether they were even taken into cognizance by the administration. Clearly, our culture of negligence and malpractice when it comes to issues of safety and security prevail, as made evident by the Chawkbazar fire.

Enough is enough.

As things stand, both the administration and the relevant industries responsible for this fire have to answer: Why weren’t the recommendations put in place? 

Why do we lack any form of safety regulations in these warehouses? 

How did they not learn anything in the near decade it’s been since the Nimtoli fire destroyed so many lives and livelihoods?

Thoughts, prayers, and financial support for the victims do nothing to make citizens feel like they are not living in a death trap of a city -- which Dhaka seems to be turning into day by day. While we mourn those who have perished in these incidents, it would be naïve to think that their deaths would inspire some sort of concrete response if history is anything to go by.

But it does not have to be this way.

There is still time for the government to work together with these industries and avoid another repeat of this exact same incident in the future.

To that end, implementing the 17 recommendations and enforcing proper safety regulations in these warehouses is absolutely essential.

We have lost too much to the fire already.

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