Explosion at Siddique Bazar: Factory, market, residence everything unsafe

So far 21 people have been killed and over 100 sustained injuries in an explosion at a building of Siddique Bazar near Gulistan in Dhaka. Fire fighters conducted a rescue operation on Wednesday morning after halting the operation on Tuesday night. Conducting the rescue operation had become tougher as the explosion took place at the basement of the building. The fire service authorities have been suspecting the building might collapse any time.

Two buildings, one is 7-storey and another 5-storey, were damaged in the explosion near BRTC bus Counter in Gulistan, Dhaka at around 4:45 pm on Tuesday. Passers-by and the residents of the building were injured in the explosion.

The fire service authorities have formed a four-member investigation committee headed by its director (operation and maintenance) Lt. Col. Mohammad Tajul Islam Chowdhury.

The critically injured people are undergoing treatment at different hospitals. Of them four were taken to ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Earlier, on 5 March, three people were killed and several others injured in another explosion at a building near Science Lab intersection from gas accumulated from 'sewerage line'. Besides, explosion at an oxygen factory in Sitakunda of Chattogram claimed lives of six people.

Such serial incidents of explosions prove homes, factories or markets – nothing is safe. Experts warned a long time ago that the establishments and service lines in Dhaka are extremely risky. Concerned bodies show promptness when any disaster takes place. A few days later, everything returns as usual. Recently thousands of people were killed in earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. But people in Bangladesh are being died without any such natural disaster. And, one organisation is trying to save its back by shifting blame on another organisation.

There was lack of safety measures in the Oxygen plant in Chattogram. It is assumed that gas accumulated from an old and unused supply line was the reason of explosion at the building near Science Lab, Dhaka. How could gas accumulate from an old and unused supply line? The negligence of the building owner is clear here. It is unwarranted that people will be killed in accidents because of someone else’s negligence.

Nowadays the political leaders and activists do not come forward to help the victims of any accidents like the past. Rather, a politics of shifting blame is going on. BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said incidents of one after another accident are mysterious. On the other hand ruling Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader talked about enquiring whether BNP has any involvement in incidents or not. DMP commissioner also said investigation is required to ascertain whether the incident was an accident or sabotage.

Political blaming over an accident is unwarranted. A fair investigation by experts is required to find out the actual reason of the accident. But trying to find out any political reason before conducting any investigation is not only an example of ulterior motive, but also an attempt to hide the truth.

In Bangladesh, factory, office, market and even home – nothing is safe now. Security of establishments and service lines has to be ensured to get out of this situation. Those who own buildings are responsible but at the same time, the people who are in charge of supervision also cannot avoid their responsibilities. Let’s constitute a taskforce of experts to check which establishments are safe and which are not. This has to be done before any other accident takes place.