The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has proposed formation of a central authority to oversee the effective functioning of the laws, rules, protocol and other related compliances of the country's chemical sector.
The think-tank made the suggestion in a study titled "Industrial Safety Concerning Chemical and Hazardous Products Supply Chain: What lessons we learned from Chittagong ICD blast?" conducted in collaboration with Christian Aid.
CPD's Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem unveiled the findings at a media brief at its Dhanmondi office in the capital on Wednesday.
According to the findings, the issue of proper compliance in the production, storage and transportation of chemical products in the country has not been given importance in the related laws and even though there are several agencies, the issue of close supervision is not given importance. This results in major accidents.
For chemical production, storage and transportation, seven authorities – the National Board of Revenue, the customs authority, fire service department, environment department, factories inspection department, boiler authority and the Bangladesh Navy – are engaged for licencing, registration and certification.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem said in his presentation, "The authorities concerned appear to be bypassing their due-diligence in ensuring compliances which caused the increasing risks in the hazardous chemicals international trade."
"A central authority needs to monitor the effective functioning of the laws, rules, protocol and other related compliances," he added.
According to CPD, there have been eight major accidents in the country's chemical sector in the last nine years. In the latest such incident, more than 50 people lost their lives in a chemical fire at the BM Depot in Chattogram's Sitakunda in June this year.
According to the think-tank, the owner of BM Container Depot was careless about safety. On the other hand, there was no monitoring there by any government agency.
The organisation sees major risks in the production, transportation and import-export of chemical products.
CPD Executive Director Fahmida Khatun said that due to regional and global demand, Bangladesh will gradually become the centre of industrialisation in the future.
"That is why ensuring safety is an important part of industrialisation," she added.