When will Chatkhil fire station start operation?
Chatkhil residents are yet to get quick benefit from fire service as a new fire station in the upazila of Noakhali has stayed non-functional for around two years.
Locals have to depend on the firefighters from the district town, Begumganj, Choumohani and Sonaimuri upazilas and even from Ramganj upazila in Laxmipur.
Consequently, fire in most cases burns valuables, business establishments as well as dwellings before firefighters reach spots from the far-flung stations.
While talking to The Daily Star, locals expressed their anger and frustration over the issue.
Moktar Hossain, a sweetmeat trader at Chatkhil Bazar, said after returning from his shop he is so worried that he cannot get a sound sleep at home.
“A thought always strikes me that a fire might break out any time,” he said. Fire caused huge losses at different times, he further said.
Expressing anger, Bazlur Rahman Liton, general secretary of Chatkhil Bazar Traders Association, said traders of Chatkhil may incur more loss in future if the authorities do not start operation of the fire station.
According to the office of Fire Service and Civil Defence, Noakhali, a fire broke out at Chatkhil Bazar on May 9, 2017. Another fire ensued at Chatkhil children's hospital on June 7 the same year.
Besides, Chatkhil Span Tower Market caught fire on February 2 this year, Narayan Board Bazar in Chatkhil on April 17 and Chatkhil Khilpara Bazar on April 21, said the office.
The total loss caused by the fire was estimated at 5.1 lakh, said Pradip Roy Chowdhury, head clerk at Fire Service And Civil Defence, Noakhali.
Kamrul Hasan, executive engineer of Public Works Department (PWD) in Noakhali, said PWD built the Chatkhil fire station in Parkot village at a cost of Tk 2.02 crore.
Humayun Kabir, assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defence, Noakhali, said the Chatkhil fire station is a class III station. Fourteen people -- 10 firefighters, one leader, one station officer and two drivers -- are needed to run it, he said.
Two vehicles -- one for carrying necessary equipment and another for water -- and all the equipment have already been brought, said the official.
Its operation cannot be launched due to non-recruitment of the staff members, he said, adding that the recruitment process is at the final stage.