Blaming immediate past industries minister Amir Hossain Amu, Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal General Secretary Dilip Barua today said had he (Amu) taken the issue seriously, the relocation of process of chemical godowns from the old town would have been easy.
Barua, also a former industries minister, came up with the remarks after visiting the site of Chawkbazar chemical blaze that claimed 67 lives on Wednesday, Bangla daily Prothom Alo reports.
"It would have been easier to relocate chemical godowns from Old Dhaka, had our industries minister (Amu) taken the issue seriously," Barua said when he along with a 14-party alliance delegation made a visit to Churihatta area this afternoon.
"Chemical Merchant Association, BISCIC came up with a decision that that chemical business would be relocated to a land outside Dhaka when I was the minister. It was our pledge. But the whole process could not proceed due to some discreet issues," he said.
"Social Corporate Responsibility has not been developed the way it should have to make Dhaka livable and safe."
Dilip Barua said the stakeholders could not force the government (to relocate). The building owners also cannot shrug off responsibility. They (building owners) rent out their godowns to chemical dealers hoping higher rental and hide the matter, he observed.
The home ministry and the city corporation should be more rigid while issuing license to store chemicals, he advised.
A devastating fire broke out at Old Dhaka’s Chawkbazar area around 10:40pm on February 20, leaving 67 people dead at the spot.
Autopsies found all the victims were burned alive.
The victims are mostly pedestrians, people travelling on rickshaws and cars, residents of the buildings as well as owners and staffers of the shops and warehouses at the buildings.
The Chawkbazar fire, which sparked from a chemical warehouse, is the second deadliest chemical-fuelled fire in the country after the 2010 Nimtoli incident.