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Fire at Gulshan market

05th-Jan-2017       Readers ( 108 )   0 Comments
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A DEVASTATING fire once again gutted a sprawling two storied city market at Gulshan-1 reducing at least 300 shops to ashes rendering shop owners penniless. They don't know how to rebuild their life anew. The fire at the market on Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) land was doused after 16 hours of struggle by 22 units of fire fighting units and given the scale of fire what is a matter of complacent is that none was killed although many sustained injuries trying to save their property.

Shop owners blame sabotage at the market place as there was a move to build a multi-storied building at the place and the shop owners were opposing the move. Even there is a case in the court now challenging the move to clear the market and many fear that the market was set on fire as a short-cut way of eviction. We don't know where lies the truth and if it were so it is just a brutal act and a heinous crime. However the DNCC Mayor Annisul Haq has categorically ruled out the sabotage theory and several probe committees have been set up to ascertain the cause of the accident. But many people have no trust in such probe bodies as they just divert people's attention for the time being. The committees also don't make their findings public and there is also hardly any follow up action as past experience shows from the government.

What is most significant is that the big market in city has no fire fighting equipment and such other safety measures. Such a devastating fire destroyed part of Bashundhara City shopping mall last year increasing the call for more fire safety equipment at all city shopping malls and high rise buildings. A similar fire early last year at a shopping mall at Uttara also gutted many shops and killed at least five persons when the lift had broken apart. What we want to say is that if they had listened to the call shop owners at Gulshan-1 could avert the fire. Investment to such fire fighting equipment when shared by many is not too big either. But their losses are too big now from neglect, which many may not be able to recover any time sooner. As shop owners have no insurance cover, there is hardly other way to overcome the fall out of the disaster.

We must say that the government must immediately initiate a survey at all shopping malls and high rise buildings to make sure they have fire-fighting equipment and other safety measures in all such places. In our view any one to be found not paying heed to such move must be punished. because with them safety of thousands of shoppers and home dwellers are involved. Their licenses must be withheld until they installed such measures. 

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