Salman F Rahman yesterday warned businessmen of complete eviction from Old Dhaka if fire again breaks out in the area due to their failure in taking preventive measures during the interim period of relocating chemical warehouses and factories.
“If such an incident takes place again for whatever reason, we will not hold meetings with you. The government will not consider your loss. Your businesses there will be shut down completely,” said Salman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister yesterday at a discussion.
“It may take four to six months for relocation. In the meantime, you [businessmen] will have to take some fire prevention measures and implement them immediately,” he added.
Salman was addressing a discussion titled "Risky Chemical Business in Old Town: Opportunity, Duty and Prohibition" organised by Dhaka South City Corporation at Nagar Bhaban yesterday.
He said he will sit with all stakeholders and by two or three weeks they will prepare a roadmap for relocation of chemical factories and warehouses.
Terming the repetition of fire incidents in Old Town as a collective failure; he said these would not have happened had the recommendations given after Nimtoli blaze been implemented.
“After the Nimtoli fire in 2010, chemical business did not stop; rather it grew,” he said.
DSCC Mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon said, “It is not acceptable that some innocent people will die for the profit of businesses. Businesses will expand through ensuring security for people.”
Khokon directed the Department of Explosives to submit a report within 48 hours, stating whether plastic granules and products are fire hazards.
A taskforce is currently operating drives against 29 highly flammable chemicals.
The DSCC mayor said they will reexamine the flammability of chemicals. “Besides these 29, if more chemicals are found risky, there will be drives against those too,” he said.
Businessmen have sought six months for relocation of chemical factories and warehouses from old town. They also requested to not harass businessmen during the drive.
The DSCC mayor asked the taskforce and businessmen to cooperate.