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Fire ravaged Gulshan DNCC market

Eviction fear grips shop owners

photo by NN Photo

Bulldozer being used to remove debris of the partially collapsed DNCC market that caught the devastating fire early Tuesday gutting over 300 shops. This photo was taken on Saturday.

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08th-Jan-2017       
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Reza Mahmud :
Fear of eviction spreads among the shop owners of the fire ravaged DNCC market at Gulshan-1. The businessmen who termed the incident as an act of sabotage, said that an influential quarter might demolish the market to build a multi-storied shopping mall there. The businessmen were under pressure to agree with the proposal in this regards before outbreak of fire in the market on Wednesday midnight. 

"It was a sabotage. It was an act of miscreants. There are a lot of reasons to think such," Sher Mahmud, President of the Businessmen's Association of the east portion of the market known as 'Kancha Market'told The New Nation yesterday.

He said, they are analysing amount of losses after talks with the shop owners of the market. We had also formed a probe body on Saturday, asking the market businessmen to find out the causes of fire.

"We will request the government to pay us compensations after holding a press conference on Sunday," he said. 

Dhaka North City Mayor Annisul Huq, who visited the spot twice, denied that it was an act of sabotage. He claimed that it was an accident and suspected that short-circuit might have caused the fire. He also assured that the victims would be given priorities when the construction of the new building will be constructed.

Meanwhile, Talal Rizvi, the President of West portion of the market known as 'Pucca Market' told The New Nation, "We did not know what was the reason of fire in the market. We formed a probe body on Friday to investigate the reason of fire."
 
"The extent of losses of 234 shops in pucca market has been estimated for Tk two billion," he said.

The business leader said that the Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Annisul Huq also formed a probe body on Thursday.

Talal Rizvi said, "After getting the reports from the probe body, we will demand compensations."

The shopping complex, divided into two sections, has a total of around 600 shops.

The second floor sells imported food items, readymade garments, electronic goods etc, while the east end of the ground floor complex sells groceries and kitchen items.

A large section on the ground floor has gas-cylinder repairing outlets.

The correspondent saw on Saturday that smoke even afternoon from the devastated Kancha Market, three days after the fire broke out.

The shop owners were seen busy on the day to assess their losses. They were seen to fill-up some forms provided by the business body. Some of the businessmen and their workers were seen to shift the goods from the shops.

Most of the goods were damaged in east side of the market. Unburned cloths and other products of some shops were affected by smoke and Fire Brigade waters. The glass and steel wares were seen damaged by fire and smoke. Most of them found half burned and tainted with smoke.

Some shops were found in west portion trading but the two gates of the market were found mostly closed with the police check post barricades.

There was huge rush but few of them were customers of the shops. Most of them wanted to go there only to see the conditions of the market. Most of them were the shop owners and the employees to sort out the goods.
"We are undone now. Most of us are in uncertain condition if we be able to continue our business here," said one of the shop owners preferring anonymity.

He said, "Some influential persons are creating pressure upon us to agree with the suggestion for build a multi-storied shopping complex. We did not agree because of the uncertainty of our future possessions. Amid the unpleasant circumstances, the incident of fire occurred. Most of the shop owners lost almost of their capital, their resources. We feel very helpless in this uncertain situation." 

"Few of our shop owners have sold their goods. Most of them were busy to repair and clean the shops and goods." Said Muhammad Babu Mian, owner of Nahar Furnishers in the market. He said, the fire harmed them seriously. created an accute uneasy situation.

"We did not know how many days will cost us to fully repair the market. We are waiting to overcome uneasy situation like the smoke and stains," he said.

Labourers started repairing and evacuation works without helmet and without sufficient safety measures in the devastated portion of Kancha Market.

Some local leaders were in the markets' ground floor where the workers were working.  They alongwith the labours prevented the media men to take photographs and video footages from them.  They misbehaved with journalists who went there for taking footages.

The leaders introduced them as the shop owners but denied to give details.

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