POST TIME: 11 September, 2019 11:10:22 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 September, 2019 01:26:12 AM
Shifting of chemical warehouses from old Dhaka
53 godowns in Tongi soon
Govt earmarks Tk 91 crore and eyes completion by 2020
Deepak Acharjee, Dhaka

53 godowns in Tongi soon

In addition to the Tk 1,600 crore project of constructing chemical warehouses and godowns in Munshiganj, the government has taken up another scheme to build godowns for shifting chemicals from the capital’s old town. The godowns costing Tk 91 crore will be built at Tongi in Gazipur within the next year, with a view to safeguarding people of old Dhaka from incidents like fire, sources in the industries ministry said.

The ministry has decided to construct the chemical godowns on six acres in Tongi under the direct procurement method (DMP), the sources added. Secretary for the Industries Ministry Md Abdul Halim told The Independent that they have prepared a proposal to construct warehouses and godowns at Tongi. It would be sent to the cabinet committee on economic affairs seeking its permission.

“As per the directive of the prime minister, we need to shift the chemical warehouses and godowns from the city’s old town immediately. And that’s why, the project got approval from the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on June 18. It would be implemented by 2020,” he said.

According to the project, 53 chemical godowns, three buildings and other related infrastructures would be constructed at Tongi. The industries secretary said they are working to implement the Munshiganj project within 2022.

“We have already allocated 310 acres in the Sirajdikhan area of Munshiganj through the local district administration, and we will be able to provide compensation within the shortest possible time to those whose land has been acquired, after getting funds from the authorities concerned,” he added.

Immediately after his taking office as the industries minister earlier this year, Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun decided to relocate the chemical godowns from the capital's old part within the next six months in the wake of deadly fires at Chawkbazar in 2010 and 2019.

A devastating fire in Nimtali area of old Dhaka killed at least 124 people and injured many more on June 3, 2010.

Another fire incident on February 20 this year killed at least 81 people and injured 41 others. The fire broke out at a chemical warehouse and raged through four other adjacent buildings in the old town’s Chawkbazar area.

In both cases, investigations revealed that the incidents of fire were caused and took devastating form because of unregulated chemical warehouses in Old Dhaka. The government after the Nimtoli fire asked the warehouse owners to move their businesses, but the directive was not implemented in last nine years.

However, the sources said the government will provide plots to the chemical traders and plastic product manufacturers at Munshiganj. The traders can keep their old showrooms for business. But buyers will get the chemicals from the warehouses and godowns to be built in Tongi and thereafter Munshiganj.

There are about 15,000 chemical warehouses and godowns in different areas of the densely-populated old part of the capital, which is causing fire incidents and remaining as a ticking time bomb in the area.