4 January 2017, Wed, 10:22

Gulshan Market Fire: Shop owners call it a conspiracy to evict them

Shop owners of the DCC market which caught fire in the wee hours of Tuesday have alleged their shops were set on fire as part of a conspiracy to evict the market.
Talking to the media, most of the shop owners who rushed to the scene to save their shops don’t agree to call it an accident rather they are calling it sabotage.

They also alleged that the fire fighters did not response properly to put out the fire.

They expressed their anger and raised question as to why the fire fighters took so long to extinguish the fire of a two-storey market the surrounding of which is open.

“Metro Group signed an agreement with the city corporation in 2003 for constructing an 18-storey building in place of the two-storey market. But no arrangement was made to rehabilitate the shop owners, leading to a strain relation between shop owners and city corporation,” said the shop owners’ association president Sher Mohammad.

He alleged they were threatened many times and a case was filed in this connection in 2010. “After taking office, Dhaka North City

Corporation mayor Annisul Huq tried to solve the problem amicably, without issuing any threat.”

He unequivocally said, “It is for sure an act of sabotage. And that’s why a part of the building collapsed barely half an hour into the fire. Usually, building doesn’t collapse in this manner.”

Venting his anger over the operation of the fire fighters, a shop owner, Altaf Hossain alleged, “The market was set on fire as part of a conspiracy to evict us.”

A clothes businessman of the market, Mansur Ali, alleged although the fire service is claiming that some 20-21 of its units are working out to control the fire, not more than two or three units are in operation for all practical purposes.

While visiting the market, mayor Annisul Huq told newsmen that he is thankful to Allah because the fire caused no casualties.

When his attention was drawn to the allegation of the shop owners that the market was set on fire as part of a conspiracy, he said, “Shop owners know well. I know nothing about it.”

About the rehabilitation of the shop owners, the mayor said he will sit with them once the fire is put out.