Secretariat buildings not at risk of fire: Cabinet Secretary

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Staff Reporter:

The buildings at the Secretariat, constructed by the Public Works Department, face no fire risk, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said Monday.

“All the buildings inside the Secretariat have necessary circuit breakers,” he said, briefing reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Thirty-nine percent of all the fire incidents reported in Bangladesh last year were sparked by electric short-circuits, according to the Fire Service.

Shafiul’s comments came days after a devastating fire at a Banani commercial building killed 26 people last month. In late February, a fire at a chemical warehouse in Old Dhaka left 71 people dead.

Urban experts said around 18 million people in and around Dhaka were exposed to fires and earthquakes because of building code violation and ignoring safety issues during construction of high-rises.

The secretary said the office of the Prime Minister in building-1 has been shifted as it faces earthquake risk. But he noted that people working at the Secretariat will have adequate time to evacuate in the event of an earthquake.

“We’ll hold a meeting with stakeholders to discuss and review earthquake and other risk at Secretariat buildings,” he said.

The secretary said the design of a 20-storey building, to be constructed in the compound, is at its final stage. “It’ll have modern facilities to keep it free from all sorts of risks,” he said.

He said the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, implemented two-thirds of its decisions taken within the first three months of assuming office in January.

Thirty-six decisions were taken and 24 of them were executed in the first quarter of the year, according to a report placed before the Cabinet meeting.

Shafiul Alam said the Cabinet took the decisions in five meetings held between January 7 and March 31. “The success rate of implementation during the last three months is 66.67 percent,” he said, adding that 12 other decisions are also being carried out.

During the same period last year, 63 decisions were taken in seven meetings and 43 of them were implemented, the secretary said.

Besides, two policies and one agreement were implemented during the first quarter of the year.unb

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