The electricity supply authorities should relocate the transformers from areas with chemical factories to avoid fire accidents and loss of life and properties, said experts.
Electric transformers in unsafe places were directly or indirectly responsible for many devastating fire incidents in the capital, resulting in a huge loss of lives and properties, they noted.The latest fire incident originated from the gas cylinder of a car in Chawkbazar on Wednesday night rapidly spread and engulfed adjoining buildings due to the explosion of a transformer.
The issue of transformers being installed in densely populated areas has come to the fore again after the deadly fire in Chawkbazar, which left at least 70 people dead.
Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO) and Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) are supplying electricity in Dhaka City.
DPDC is responsible for power supply to old Dhaka, an area that houses a large number of chemical factories.
On June 6, 2010, the High Court ordered DESCO to form an expert committee to examine all electric transformers in the capital and submit a report within three weeks. The apex court order came following a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) seeking removal of faulty transformers which may cause fire accidents.
HRPB filed the writ after 123 people were killed in a fire incident at a chemical warehouse at Nimtoli in Old Dhaka on June 3, 2010.An 11-member committee was formed on June 7 to examine the transformers.
On July 14 that year, the committee submitted a report to the High Court saying almost all the transformers in Dhaka city are functioning.
The then Managing Director of DESCO Saleh Ahmed submitted a 526-page report.
Out of a total of 3,500 transformers in the capital, only a handful was set up in unsafe places, the report claimed.
But lawyer and president of HRPB Manzill Murshid claimed that around 100 transformers in Dhaka city have been installed in unsafe places.
An engineer of a power supply company, wishing anonymity, said transformer should not be allowed in an area which is close to chemical factories to avoid fire accidents.
“Transformer explodes when its oil comes in contact with fire due to short circuit or other reasons and the flame engulfs adjoining areas,” he said.
Echoing view of the engineer, Major AKM Shakil Newaz, Director (Operation and Maintenance) of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said transformers must be installed in safe place to avoid fire accidents.
Underscoring need for relocation of transformers, Manzill Murshid said he will file a supplementary petition with the High Court seeking issuance of a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why the transformers shall not be shifted to safer locations.
“The Chawkbazar fire incident once again showed that the transformers still remain in unsafe places. It is uncertain as to when the authorities concerned will shift the transformers. So I will file a supplementary petition with the HC seeking rule issuance,” he added.
Manzill said a rule previously issued by HC is pending and unsettled.
He said, “I will pray to the HC to expedite hearing and issue and directives to the authorities concerned to take appropriate measures to relocate the transformers.”