• Monday, Sep 26, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

ED: A culture of negligence and impunity

  • Published at 02:45 am July 19th, 2021
Narayanganj fire
Mehedi Hasan/ Dhaka Tribune

Regulatory agencies have also shown great negligence in this regard

On July 8, 52 lives were lost in a factory in Narayanganj as, yet again, an entirely avoidable fire broke out in a structure lacking basic fire safety provisions. 

The deaths, too, were avoidable. 

When it comes to construction work, a zero tolerance policy has become of the utmost importance when it comes to ensuring fire safety, be it for factories, warehouses, corporate offices, or residential buildings. For far too long, those responsible for the construction and, subsequently, the public institutions in charge of assessing for compliance with government safety regulations have blatantly disregarded their responsibilities, putting the lives of people continuously at risk. 

By cutting corners and ignoring these guidelines, owners of buildings and factories have gone about their daily lives, with the understanding that their power and influence will leave them off the hook from any consequences. 

It is this culture of impunity that must change.

While these unscrupulous owners deserve to have the book thrown at them, regulatory agencies have also shown great negligence in this regard, happy to overlook structural flaws and missing safety features for a quick buck.

Is it any surprise, then, that lives lost to accidents such as fires have become so commonplace in Bangladesh? 

Changing this will require concerted effort, from not just the authorities concerned, but also the owners of the factories themselves. This is no longer a matter of compliance and corruption, but a matter of legal negligence and, as such, law enforcement must be brought in to ensure that those who have been found to ignore safety regulations during construction are punished.

In addition, those who have yet to retrofit their structures with the necessary upgrades must also be held accountable. 

No building in the country should be built without the express intent to keep the people working or living inside it safe. A failure to do so would be to admit that the lives of Bangladeshis are expendable.

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