The Chawkbazar fire might not have taken place, had the recommendations of a probe committee after the 2010 Nimtoli fire been implemented, the High Court said yesterday.
Last week's Chawkbazar fire cannot be termed as a mere accident. It is an undesired incident and somebody has to take the responsibility, the court said while hearing several writ petitions filed in connection with the fire.
After the Nimtoli tragedy in 2010, a government- probe committee made 17 recommendations including relocating the warehouses to nonresidential areas, enforcing Fire Prevention and Extinguishing Rules 2003 and Bangladesh National Building Code, installing separate hydrant points in different areas and raising awareness from an early age through textbooks.
Yesterday, the HC said the administration had the responsibility to implement the recommendations.
The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader said the country's image had been damaged by the incident.
Owners of many buildings in Old Dhaka live in the posh neighbourhoods of Gulshan and Banani and lease their own buildings to be used as chemical godowns for handsome amounts, the court said, adding that the city corporation authorities turn a blind eye to the issue.
Deputy Attorney General Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar told the court that the government was sincere in solving the problems.
It is not possible for the prime minister to run the country alone although she has many achievements.
The PM had adopted two daughters after the Nimtoli tragedy, it mentioned.
The HC bench fixed today for resuming the hearing on the petitions.
Md Ruhul Quddus Kazal, Amit Das Gupta and Eunus Ali Akond represented the petitioners.
Four separate writ petitions were filed with the HC on Sunday in connection with the Chawkbazar fire, with different prayers including compensation for the affected families and punishment for those responsible.
Eunus Ali Akond filed one of the writ petitions seeking HC directives on the government to compensate each of the families with Tk 30 lakh.
He also sought an HC order on the government to form a judicial inquiry commission to find out the cause behind the fire, identify those responsible for the blaze and take punitive actions against them.
Meanwhile, three other SC lawyers and an Old Dhaka resident have filed three separate writ petitions with the HC in connection with the same incident.
Among them, ZI Khan Panna, Nur Mohammad Azmi, Khandker Md Sayedul Kawser submitted two writ petitions praying to the HC to direct the government to relocate the chemical warehouses from Old Dhaka as per recommendations of the committee formed by the government in 2010.
Old Dhaka resident Zabed Miah submitted a writ petition requesting a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why they should not be directed to move the chemical warehouses and gas cylinders kept for commercial uses from the area.