On the night of September 4 last year, 40 people were burnt in an explosion at the Baitus Salat Jame Mosque in the western part of the city during Esha prayers, three of whom were able to return home with only treatment. COURTESY
Neither the police, Titas nor the local administration has been seen to take any initiative to find out the cause of death of two or one people in the gas fire.
Besides corona, cooking gas has also become deadly for the people of Narayanganj. 158 people have died in this district in Corona. According to the fire service, there were 94 gas-related explosions and fires in the district in 2020. At least 44 people lost their lives in those fires. However, the fire service did not include the information of many people who died in the fire while undergoing treatment, the officials said.
The information of these incidents from January 1 to December 31, 2020, is in the account book of the fire service. After investigating these incidents, it has been learned that in most of the cases, one case of unnatural death has been registered in the police station but no investigation has been carried out. Neither the police, Titas Gas nor the local administration have been seen to take any initiative to find out the cause of the gas fire. As a result, even though there are so many deaths, there is no initiative to determine the responsibility. Due to which similar incidents are happening.
From January 1 to December 31, 2020:
In one of these incidents, 37 people died. On the night of September 4 last year, 40 people were burnt in an explosion at the Baitus Salat Jame Mosque in the western part of the city during Esha prayers, three of whom were able to return home with only treatment. After the incident, locals said they had been smelling gas in the area for a long time. The matter was not resolved even after informing Titus. Titus's activities began after so many people were burned to death. Six holes were later found in an abandoned Titas gas pipeline on the north side of the mosque. The report of a committee formed by the district administration to investigate the incident recommended 18 points. These include formulating policies for the construction and operation of mosques in the future to prevent accidents, keeping wide doors in mosques, maintaining firefighting systems, ensuring coordination among service providers (road diggers), regular monitoring of Titas gas pipelines, gas connections, and line transfers, disconnecting all illegal gas connections, etc.
However, no initiative has been taken yet to implement these recommendations. Many officials have forgotten the recommendations. Mominul Haque, deputy managing director (DMD) of Titas' Narayanganj office, told the press yesterday that most of their officers and employees had been transferred in the wake of the Tolla mosque blast. Asked about the implementation of the recommendations of the district administration's inquiry committee, he said, "We have to see what is there." However, there are many old gas pipelines. There may be a leakage in those pipelines. Upon receiving the news of leakage, immediate steps were taken to repair it.
After the death of 37 people at the Talla Mosque, Titas Gas suspended eight people, including four officials from the Fatullah area, but later reinstated them. However, the police found evidence of negligence on the part of Titus' staff in the investigation. On December 31, the CID filed a charge sheet against 29 people.
The incident gained importance due to the huge loss of life at Talla Mosque. However, in most cases, no initiative was taken to determine the liability. District Superintendent of Police (SP) Zaidul Alam told the press that a case was registered in case of death due to gas leakage and explosion. In case of death in an accident, a case of unnatural death is filed. A charge sheet was filed in the court alleging negligent death against the accused after the investigation found allegations of negligence. If no complaint is received, the final report is submitted.
At midnight on March 8, a gas cylinder exploded in a flat on the sixth floor of a building called Haji Villa in the western Masdair area of the city. Six people, including a child from the same family, were burnt. Four people have been burnt to death. Two people including a child undergoing treatment at Sheikh Hasina National Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute in Dhaka. Their condition is also critical.