Sitakunda depot fire: HC orders formation of probe body

The High Court (HC) on Wednesday ordered the formation of a committee headed by a professor of Chemical Engineering Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) to investigate the depot fire at Sitakunda in Chattogram.

The court asked the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources to form the committee with other experts.

The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo passed the order after hearing of a writ petition.

The committee will submit their report by three months, it said.

The court also issued a rule questioning why the deceased's family and injured victims of the depot fire should not be paid adequate compensation.

In another rule, the HC wanted to know why the negligence of the authorities concerned should not be declared illegal and legal action will not be taken against the culprits through proper investigation of the depot fire.

The rule also sought explanation as to why instructions should not be given to designate places for chemical storage and show the quantity of chemicals and type of chemicals to be stored in the depot.

Read: Probe body finds owners, monitoring authority responsible for Sitakunda depot fire

At the same time, the court also asked why the fire service authority was not provided with modern equipment.

Home Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief Secretary, Industries Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defense, Chittagong Port Authority Chairman, Deputy Commissioner of Chattogram, Chairman and Managing Director of Smart Group, BM Container Depot were made respondents to the rule.

On June 29, Supreme Court Lawyer Barrister Mohammad Humayun Kabir Pallab, Barrister Mohammad Kawsar, Barrister Mohammad Majeedul Quader and AKM Faisal Haque filed the writ petition on behalf of ‘Law and Life Foundation’ and ‘CCB Foundation’.

The writ petition sought necessary directives to pay compensation of Tk 2 crore to each deceased's family and Tk 50 lakh to each injured victim of the depot fire.

The formation of an inquiry committee comprising of explosives experts, proper action against the culprits were also sought in the writ petition.

As per the writ petition, at least 51 people were killed in a fire at BM container depot in Chattogram’s Sitakunda on June 4. The deceased included 10 firefighters. Over 200 people were injured in the fire.

Besides, firefighters were unable to control fire caused by chemical due to lack of necessary training and modern equipment, it said.

Earlier, the Law and Life Foundation Trust and the CCB Foundation had served separate legal notices seeking compensation for the victims, said Barrister Pallab.

Source: United News of Bangladesh