THE death of two labourers in a boiler explosion at a rice mill in Dinajpur on Wednesday, as New Age on reported Thursday, brings to the fore the issue of negligence in regulation and monitoring of mills that use boilers and their maintenance and inspection. It needs to be pointed out that this is not the first case of boiler explosion. One may recall that a boiler exploded on September 9, 2016, triggering a huge conflagration at a five-story package factory called Tampaco Foils Ltd at Tongi in Gazipur, which killed at least 23 workers. This kind of boiler explosion resulting in casualties is happening every now and then. According to the boiler act, the inspector tasked with monitoring boilers must examine the boiler minutely and on a regular basis and if the inspector is satisfied that the boiler and the steam-pipes attached thereto are in a good condition, the inspector will issue a certificate authorising the use of the boiler for a period not exceeding 12 months. It is, therefore, a necessity for the authorities concerned to inspect boilers again and again so that the use of faulty boilers is stopped once and for all.
It should be noted that these casualties have marked an alarming increase these days. Explosive experts’ fears that in many cases, substandard and faulty boilers are installed putting the lives of ordinary people at risk should be taken into serious consideration. Their attribution of these occurrences to the growth of unauthorised businesses selling substandard boilers for lack of monitoring and surveillance by the government brings to the fore the incumbents’ lackadaisical attitude towards ordinary people consisting of workers whose work involves boilers to earn their living like the victims of Wednesday.
Allegations are rife that the power of money, of a section of unscrupulous businessmen, and greed, of some officials, have colluded to pave the way for using unfit and substandard boilers to do business jeopardising the life of hapless workers. What remains to be greatly concerning is that a section of inspectors allegedly do not strictly comply with the guidelines, particularly those putting emphasis on re-checking fitness of the boiler installed at regular intervals. There are also many owners who hardly take the trouble to stop using a boiler beyond its expiry date. Alarmingly still, despite repeated warnings from experts of costly consequences of using faulty or substandard boilers, the authorities did not even bother to effectively monitor all this. Under the circumstances, the government needs to take expeditious steps to intensify its monitoring and surveillance and have the responsible individuals prosecuted efficiently and punished exemplarily. All we mean to say is that prohibitive legal precedents are required to prevent the recurrence of boiler explosions and concomitant casualties.
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