Govt announces drive to inspect fire safety measures at Dhaka buildings

Minister for Housing and Public Works SM Rezaul Karim has announced a special 15-day drive to examine the fire safety measures of buildings.

Published : 30 March 2019, 08:26 AM
Updated : 30 March 2019, 08:49 AM

The Dhaka city development corporation (RAJUK) may demolish buildings that do not meet fire safety standards ‘if necessary’, the minister warned.

At least 26 people have been killed and over fifty injured after a fire broke out at the FA Tower in Dhaka’s Banani on Thursday.

The fire service found the building was not following fire safety regulations. It has been alleged that the building was not constructed according to the blueprints submitted to the government for approval.

Two days after that fire, another blaze broke out at the makeshift market near the Gulshan-1 DNCC Market. Though there were no casualties, over 150 shops were burned down.

After visiting the scene of Saturday’s fire in Gulshan, Minister Rezaul Karim told journalists that a 15-day inspection of fire-safety measures at multi-storey buildings would begin on Sunday.

‘Strict’ legal measures would be taken against any buildings found in violation of regulations, he said.

“Those buildings that do not have proper fire safety measures will be identified and demolished if necessary, or will only be allowed for use once the owners bring them into compliance with all sections of the building code.”

“There will be no respite for those who have violated the code,” the state minister said.

Those involved in the violations at FR Tower will not be spared, he warned.

“The prime minister has ordered that all involved – owners, developers, RAJUK officials and workers – must face strict legal consequences.”

Rezaul Karim said that those responsible for the deaths from the fire would be held accountable and that all unplanned buildings would be identified.

“We will not call man-made disasters merely accidents. These are murders. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is firmly against them.”

“I have also been strict with any who violate the law since taking office. I will take direct action if any irregularities are reported,” he said.

Two fires have broken out near the DNCC Market in two years.

“The DNCC Market’s electric wiring is not acceptable,” he said.

The minister said that steps have to be taken to make Dhaka a planned city.

“The buildings we have were not built in a day. So it will take some time to demolish the illegal buildings.”

“But the buildings we are now approving in Dhaka will not be allowed to stray one hair from the plans submitted to the RAJUK. We are building a planned city.”