There is a "standing directive" from the prime minister to remove all chemical establishments from Old Dhaka immediately, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said today.
"Process is going on. Initially the risky and illegal chemical warehouses and establishments will be removed from Chawkbazar and nearby area. There will be no compromise,” he said.
"The city corporation authorities will work in this regard,” he said while briefing media around 11:30am in front of Hazi Wahed Mansion, the building where a fire broke out on Wednesday night and claimed the lives of at least 67 people.
Replying to a query on why chemical establishments were not removed despite recommendations after Nimtoli blaze in 2010, he said, "This time the government has come to the ground with all measures to meet lack of all [previous] coordination. New journey starts through learning lessons from previous mistakes."
But the government has shown no reluctance in the matter till now, he added.
About the danger of CNG-run vehicles, he said, "The BRTA (Bangladesh Road Transport Authority) chairman has already been directed to take steps in this regard."
WHAT HAPPENED AT CHAWKBAZAR?
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.