DHAKA: The government has postponed the taskforce drive against illegal chemical storehouses and small industries in the capital for two months and asked businessmen to relocate their businesses outside residential areas.
Industries Minister Dilip Barua Thursday announced the government decision at an opinion-exchange meeting with plastic, chemical and light engineering businessmen at a community center with Bangladesh Chamber of Industries President Shahedul Islam in the chair.
BCI, Bangladesh Plastic Product Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and Bangladesh Chemical and Perfumery Merchants Association joint organized the meeting.
The government launched the taskforce drive against illegal chemical storehouses and factories after the Nimtoli tragedy early this month that took 121 lives and left hundreds injured in a conflagration of home fire fuelled by chemicals within the reach.
Barua told his businesses audience that the government would assist the businessmen arrested during the drive in getting bail. The government will build up a special economic zone in Keraniganj area within the shortest possible time where the plastic industries can be relocated, he added.
“You will have to move your chemical storehouses and industries outside the residential area within two months. Otherwise, we will resume taskforce drive,” he said, urging the businessmen to cooperate with the government in solving the problems.
Barua assured the businesspeople that the law enforcers would not harass them anymore. “But the house-owners should not rent their houses out for chemical storehouse,” he said.
Present at the meeting, State Minister for Law Advocate Qamrul Islam said there is no alternative to shifting the illegal chemical storehouses and industries in saving people’s lives.
Bangladesh Chamber of Industries President Shahedul Islam spelt out a series of demands that include halting the drive.
Shahed, also President of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Producers and Exporters Association, welcomed the government decision and said they would help the government in implementing government decision.
“We believe the government will keep their words and will release our ten businessmen as soon as possible,” he said.
The meeting was also addressed, among others, by Industry Secretary Zakir Hosain, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Mahibul Haque and local lawmaker Mostafa Jalal Mahiuddin.
BDST: 1905Hrs. June 17, 2010