Recurrence of devastating fire in Old Dhaka is a man-made disaster and could be averted had the government ensured appropriate urban planning and development control, said Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) at a press conference in the capital yesterday.
“The Chawkbazar tragedy would not have happened had the government implemented the 17-point recommendation after the 2010 Nimtoli fire,” said the organisation's secretary general Prof Adil Mohammed Khan, while reading out a statement on BIP premises.
The recommendations made by industries, public works and local government ministries included immediate relocation of chemical warehouses and factories from residential areas in Old Dhaka and ensuring construction in compliance with building code and fire safety law, he said.
Another important recommendation was strict mentoring of storing, marketing and sale of lethal chemical substances, he read out.
Ignoring the recommendations is a collective failure of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, Dhaka South City Corporation, department of explosives, fire service and civil defence, department of factory inspection, Dhaka district administration and industries ministry, he said.
Traders' opposition, building owners' greed and locals' reluctance to comply with the law contributed to the deadly consequence, BIP said at the press conference.
Hazi Wahed Mansion, one of the most damaged buildings in the fire, was constructed without building approval and fire safety clearance.
“Most of the buildings in old town have been built this way,” Khan said.