Owners of big buildings in Dhaka must take responsibility for their buildings' safety, said Atiqul Islam, mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) on Saturday.
He said anyone seeking to enlarge a building needs to present the in-built fire system plan and relevant certificates to get a trade license.
The DNCC mayor made the remarks while addressing an awareness-raising exercise event on earthquake and fire preparedness at Mohakhali Karail Beltala Adarsh Nagar slum on the occasion of National Disaster Preparedness Day 2021.
The exercise was conducted by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief in collaboration with the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence. Disaster Management and Relief Minister Md Enamur Rahman was the chief guest at the programme.
Atiqul Islam said, "Those who have built big commercial buildings, those who built 30, 40, 50 storey buildings, need to install a fire system in those buildings."
Calling on building owners to ensure safety of their buildings, the mayor said, "[Owners] need to make sure of this by themselves. Waiting for the government will not work. You are doing the business by yourselves, so you must take these responsibilities. This is common abroad. People make big buildings after seeing them abroad, but they forget everything after coming to the country."
Mentioning that the government is planning to set up 36 satellite fire stations for slums in Dhaka, he said, "Slums are a challenge for us. Slum dwellers are part and parcel of the city. We are working to provide them with a sustainable solution."
Regarding the relocation of cleaners, he said, "Experimentally, by 2021, we will be able to relocate the families of 620 cleaners to new buildings. Improved places for slum dwellers will be arranged after discussions with everyone."
The mayor, in his speech, also praised Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense personnel. He said. "Where there is a fire, there are firemen, where there is a problem, there are firemen's vehicles. They move forward to serve the people risking their own lives."
Meanwhile, speaking as the chief guest at the programme, Md Enamur Rahman said, "We are working to make our fire service more advanced."
He said about 1,200 patients at Suhrawardy Medical College were able to be shifted to another hospital due to a single exercise.
He added the prime minister has given permission to buy Tk2,275 crore worth of new equipment to deal with disasters.
Equipment worth Tk220 crore was bought a few days ago.
The minister said, "We will have greater capacity to deal with disasters than any developed country," adding, "We are on the rail line of development. We will reach the destination at the right time."