There is a need for government-mandated regulations in place
When a fire blazed through Chawkbazar, killing more than 70 people in the process, it showed clearly that we as a nation had not learned our lesson when it came to implementing strict safety precautions.
This negligence was especially unforgivable due to the face that, in Nimtoli almost 10 years ago, around the same area, a similar fire had taken the lives of nearly 120 people, fuelled by the dangerous chemicals which had been stored there.
If the authorities refuse to make some necessary drastic changes now, it would not only be an insult to the hundreds of lives lost in Old Dhaka in fires, but these horrific accidents would keep on happening.
But there is hope -- we are heartened to see the government’s response to the aftermath of the incident, with Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Md Sayeed Khokon setting up a two-tier task force to ensure that chemicals are no longer housed near residential areas such as Chawkbazar and Nimtoli.
We are pleased that the task force started its much needed drive to remove these chemicals on Thursday, but this will not be enough in the long run.
There is a need for government-mandated regulations in place, which ensure a safe space for these chemicals to be stored, and furthermore, a system which grades these chemicals according to risk.
Law enforcement agencies need to be fully on board with the rules, with a hard line against those flouting these regulations and putting innocent lives at risk.
We hope that the new task force sticks to its plan and heralds in a new culture built on putting safety first.