Rapid Action Battalion yesterday seized 3,700 kilogrammes of flammable chemicals from four warehouses in Armanitola area of Old Dhaka and fined the owners Tk 10 lakh.
A Rab team, led by executive magistrate Sarwoer Alam, conducted the raid as a part of an ongoing drive against chemical warehouses in residential areas.
Besides, the Rab team also found 11,197 kilogrammes of chemicals but did not seize those on conditions that those would be relocated within a week, Sarwoer said.
“We will destroy the seized flammable chemicals shortly,” he added.
Meanwhile, five different teams of a government taskforce snapped utility connections to 18 buildings that housed illegal warehouses and factories in the old town on the sixth day of the ongoing month-long drive.
On February 25, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon announced the month-long crackdown against warehouse that housed “dangerous chemicals”.
The announcement came after a fire broke out in Chawkbazar area of the capital on February 20 that killed at least 71 people. The drive, operated by a taskforce comprised of 14 government agencies, was launched on February 28.
Since the beginning of the drive, the taskforce disconnected electricity, gas and water connections to at least 94 buildings in the old town.
Another team of law enforcers, led by Brig Gen Sharif Ahmed, chief health officer of Dhaka South City Corporation, cut utility lines to five warehouses that housed raw plastic materials illegally on Girda Urdu Road and Jaynag Road.
Elsewhere in Hazirabagh, the team led by Air Commodore Zahid Hossain, chief waste management officer of DSCC, found chemical warehouse on Monesshor Road and gave a day for its relocation.
Two more teams of the taskforce disconnected utility lines of warehouses and factories to 12 holdings on Awlad Hossain Lane and Agamasi Lane.
WHAT DO THE OWNERS SAY?
The owners of the chemical warehouses and factories alleged that the authorities were evicting their businesses without providing them with land, time and other facilities for relocation.
During yesterday's drive, a plastic factory owner Anower said, “We want to leave the place but we need land and time.”
The factory was evicted but it did not store any flammable chemicals, he alleged.
Anower's friend Masud Alam said they had been manufacturing garments items like hanger since last 25 years and it would affect them badly if government cut their utility facilities.
DSCC Chief Health Officer Brig Gen Sharif, however, denied the allegations and said the traders were given enough time to relocate the warehouses and factories.
The government has been asking them to relocate since the Nimtoli fire in 2010 that killed 124.