A devastating fire incident claimed at least fifty lives, most of whom were adolescent labourers and working in a reputed business house to help their respective poverty-stricken families manage two square meals a day. We express our deepest condolence to the families who have just lost their near and dear ones in the fire incident at Rupaganj’ Hashem Foods Ltd factory in Narayanganj. However, it is a question that, was it just an accident or something else.
Media reports, quoting fire service officials, say that the building has lacked the required safety measures to keep fatalities minimum in case of any unexpected situation. Moreover, there is an allegation that none were allowed to get down from the third floor, and the front gate and the rooftop gate were kept locked since the blaze broke out, which hindered victims to locals from making rescue efforts at the initial stage.Ensuring safety measures in factories is an issue that has always been neglected, resulting in increasing numbers of fire incidents every year. However, the officials responsible for compelling factories to ensure safety measures have been playing a mysterious role over the years. Besides the factory owners, they even cannot deny their responsibility, for the fire incident in Hashem Foods Ltd factory, as they reportedly limit their duty only to sending letters seeking permission to inspect the factory for the last twenty years and did not take any steps after being denied.
It is very much disheartening, at the same time unacceptable, that fire breaks out in factories one after another, but none get punished for those incidents. The unknown actions that the relevant government agencies take against the culprits after disasters like fire at Tazreen Fashions, Tampaco Foils and Churihatta chemical warehouse are also encouraging others to remain indifferent regarding safety issues in factories. Every time the offenders manage to escape unpunished after facing initial interrogation. This time also eight people have reportedly been nabbed since this write-up is written. If the authorities concerned remain indifferent like previous incidents, the number of such incidents will continue to rise, along with the number of victims.