Both manpower and natural gas are blessings for the economy of a country with limited resources like Bangladesh. But they could be threatening to each other in absence of awareness, utilisation, and proper management.
Despite being a valuable natural resource, gas has been wasted in the country by the mere carelessness of both consumers and the authorities.
As can be seen in many residential buildings in Dhaka, gas stoves are kept burning for hours to save just a Tk2 matchstick box that often leads to major accidents, claiming lives.
Moreover, gas is wasted in large amounts due to leakages in the pipelines, thanks to the negligence of the authorities. The authorities concerned leave those unrepaired for months, sometimes causing tragic explosions.
The blast in a mosque in Narayanganj's Pashchim Talla is the latest example of such a tragic accident. At least 24 people have succumbed to their burn injuries and many more are fighting for their lives since the explosion took place on Friday night.
In Narayanganj alone, several incidents of gas explosions were recorded during the past years.
On February 17 this year, an elderly woman was killed and seven other members of a family, including children, sustained burn injuries in a gas explosion in Siddhirganj of Narayanganj, reported The Business Standard.
Officials then suspected that they might not have switched off the gas stove before going to bed at night. Gas accumulated inside the kitchen and exploded the moment it came in contact with a matchstick flame the next morning.
In the same way, three members of a family were critically burnt in Pagla of Narayanganj on February 13, 2016.
On January 7 this year, a couple suffered burn injuries following the explosion of a gas pipeline at Kayempur of Narayanganj's Fatullah area of Sadar upazila, reported UNB.
On April 22 last year, two garment workers were burned to death and eight others were injured in an explosion believed to have been caused by a gas line leak in a house at Bhulta of Rupgani upazila in Narayanganj.
On November 17 last year, eight people were killed and 15 others were injured in a gas pipeline explosion at Patharghata of Chattogram.
The fatal explosion was triggered by a leakage in the gas line, said a seven-member probe committee formed by the district administration, The Business Standard reported.
On February 26, 2016, the tragic deaths of two children in a gas fire at a residential house in the capital's Uttara shocked the nation. Their parents – Sumaiya and Md Shahnewaz – also sustained severe burn injuries. The father succumbed to his injuries days later.
The family had moved to the rented house in Uttara-5 barely a week before the incident took place. Repeated complaints were made to the landlord about the faulty gas line, said a brother of the female victim.
The leaked gas exploded when the woman lit the stove to make tea in the morning on the day of the incident. The children were sleeping in the house and Sumaiya was offering her morning prayers.
Five children were killed and 17 others were injured critically as a gas cylinder, used for inflating balloons, exploded near a school in Rupnagar residential area of Dhaka on October 30 last year.
Three textile engineering students died from burn injuries at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on March 31, 2018, according to a report by The Daily Star.
Experts at the time concluded that a leaky gas pipe was responsible for the explosion.
Although none of the victims were from well-off families, they had been among the top 10 scorers in the class of 2013 at Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (Kuet).
The deaths dismayed over 50 Kuet students, who went to the DMCH to attend the fellow injured pupils. They collected funds and ran errands to make sure their classmates had everything needed for their treatment.
The losses of lives and waste of resources year after year have failed to make the greater society be aware. The family that lost a loved one may have no end of regrets. Would we not be aware until something happens to our dear ones too. Won't we be aware of the damage to the country?