The Barishal Hotel and Restaurant in Old Dhaka of the capital that burned down last Monday, killing at least six workers, had no trade license to operate, says the mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation.
Factories in the vicinity of the restaurant were operating illegally without licenses as well, Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh told journalists after visiting the spot at Debidash Ghat lane in Chawkbazar on Wednesday.
According to officials, the fire ignited around 12.00pm on Monday from the ground floor of the building which housed the restaurant and killed six workers, presumably trying to sleep after a night shift. It took 10 firefighting units some three hours to douse the flames and recover the bodies burnt beyond recognition.
"All establishments here have been constructed illegally. Hotels are operating without any kind of approvals, without trade license and gas connection permits," said Mayor Taposh.
He added, "Factories have been set up…illegally. Repeated illegal acts like this are leading to these accidents again and again."
"How did they get gas and electricity connections without approval?" he wondered.
Seeking cooperation to address the issues, the mayor said, "Unless we all come together to stop these activities, we will never be relieved of such accidents."
500 warehouses, factories to be relocated by Dec
Following multiple fire incidents centring illegal factories and warehouses in the Chawkbazar area in recent years, the government has ramped up steps to clear the area of such establishments.
Taposh said authorities have identified 1924 illegal chemical factories in the area which will be relocated in phases.
"By December of this year, at least 500 factories and warehouses will be relocated," he said.
He said, "We have conducted drives to close down such illegal factories and such accidents happen every year. These accidents can only be prevented by relocating these factories."