The industries ministry will start relocating nearly 4,000 chemical warehouses and factories from Old Dhaka within the next 15 days as it selected two temporary sites in the capital and Tongi for this purpose.
The decision came at a meeting between the industries secretary and acid and chemical traders at the former's city office yesterday, a week after the fatal Chawkbazar blaze which killed 69 people and injured many others.
Different quarters have been critical of the delay in the relocation as nine years have passed since the Nimtoli tragedy in 2010, which had claimed 124 lives. The government at that time had instructed shifting the warehouses.
Briefing reporters after the meeting yesterday, Industries Secretary Abdul Halim said, “We have found six acres of land in Gazipur's Tongi and 6.17 acres in the capital's Postogola area.”
The site in Tongi is empty land of state-run Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation and the location in Postogola, previously owned by state-run Ujala Match Factory, is now unused, the secretary said.
“We will soon start construction of temporary steel sheds at the two places. We will even work on public holidays so that we can complete the work soon to begin the relocation.”
The businessmen would have to pay a minimum monthly rent, to be fixed soon, for using the facility, Halim said.
He also informed journalists that the government started acquiring 50 acres and selected another 200 acres in Keraniganj for setting up two chemical and acid industrial zones.
The businessmen would have to take their chemicals and acid from the temporary sheds to the industrial zones once those were ready, the secretary said without mentioning any time frame for the completion of the work.
Halim said his ministry was also ready to offer 14 acres in the capital's Kadamtoli for another temporary relocation site. The land was previously owned by the now-defunct Dhaka Match Factory.
“If needed by the businessmen, we can offer them some abandoned old sheds at the site within the next five days as we will only have to clean those to make them usable.”
Moreover, the government has 18 acres in Savar which can be used for setting up temporary sheds if there is a space crisis in Kadamtoli and Tongi, the secretary said.
Earlier on Monday, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun in an emergency meeting at his city office directed the officials concerned to identify some locations for the temporary relocation of chemical warehouses from the old town.