Dhaka,  Saturday
20 April 2024

Failure Of Regulatory Bodies For Public Safety Enjoys Impunity

Editor, The Daily Messenger

Published: 08:40, 5 March 2024

Failure Of Regulatory Bodies For Public Safety Enjoys Impunity

Photo : Collected

Whenever an inferno kills inmates, guests and visitors, the regulatory bodies – Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK), Dhaka City Corporation, Bangladesh Police, construction company and finally the ‘Golden Boys’ remain above accountability and enjoy impunity.
After each human disaster, the regulatory bodies issued stereotyped statements that the building had been served several notices, and the owners ignored the warnings, blah, blah!

When the regulatory agencies are asked whether they have taken any punitive action against delinquent owners, with a sigh, a frustrating 'recorded' response is heard that they do not have enough manpower, a few inspectors and an inadequate budget to monitor.

The inadequacy of regulating the strict building codes has given scope for the owners to exploit legal loopholes with nexus with the regulatory agencies to settle through seamless corruption and additional hush money to the ‘golden boys’ of the ruling party.

The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) aptly said that a culture of impunity has been created and actions are not taken against those responsible for flouting rules and laws.

To prevent deaths, punishment has to be ensured against irresponsible officials of regulatory agencies, individuals, building owners and stakeholders.
It is necessary to bring the regulatory agencies under accountability to ensure the fire safety of buildings. There should be provisions for heavy penalties against the officers and government agencies who fail to implement the building codes and rules.

The NHRC boss laments that those responsible were identified, but no disciplinary action has been taken against them.

Meanwhile, nearly 50 eminent citizens urged the government to conduct an independent probe into the Bailey Road inferno causes behind the human disaster.
The citizens did not hesitate to ask about the roles and responsibilities of different regulatory agencies in ensuring building safety. They demanded to investigate the dereliction, failure and absence of monitoring of regulatory authorities, most importantly the City Corporation and the RAJUK.

The eminent citizens questioned whether serving notices to the building management by the fire department was sufficient and wanted to know why legal action was not taken against the offenders.

Citing a lack of manpower, inspectors and inadequate budget does not excuse them from failing in their responsibility to ensure public safety.

The eminent citizens demanded the prevention of fire accidents based on the directives of the High Court; holding accountable those responsible for the occurrences; formulating a long-term fire accident prevention policy, ensuring its implementation; the participation of the experts, stakeholders, including representatives of affected communities, in policy formulation; ensuring adequate compensation for affected families; taking steps to prevent fire incidents in urban and industrial areas, and forming citizen protection committees.