Narayanganj mosque blast: Admin probe blames Titas, mosque committee

Negligence of the mosque’s committee was behind the explosion at Baitus Salat Jame Mosque in Narayanganj Sadar upazila on September 4, found a probe committee formed by Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited.

The mosque committee’s ignorance, callousness and illegal electricity connection are the reasons behind the blast, read the report.

Meanwhile, another report submitted by the district administration of Narayanganj held both the mosque committee and Titas Gas authorities accountable for the blast.

The district administration submitted its probe report to Deputy Commissioner of Narayanganj Jashim Uddin 10 days after it started the investigation, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.

“The probe body prepared the report after talking to Titas Gas authorities, DPDC [Dhaka Power Distribution Company], mosque committee members and witnesses,” said DC Jashim Uddin.

According to the district administration report, the blast was caused by accumulated gas inside the mosque from a leaked gas pipeline which was sparked from an electrical connection.

Stressing on the gas leakage, Titas Gas authorities, in their report, said neither the mosque committee nor the people in the area informed Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited about the leakage.

The probe committee of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited was headed by the organisation’s General Manager Abdul Wahab, whereas the committee of Narayanganj district administration was led by Additional District Magistrate Khadiza Tahema Bobby.

The committee of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited submitted its report to the State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources at the Secretariat today.

In the report, they said the mosque committee detected smell of the gas leakage a few days prior to the accident but did not alert anyone. “So, they are responsible for the accident.”

The 16-page probe report detailed the blast and also mentioned there was six leakages in the pipeline.

According to the report, two gas risers were shifted at the mosque by inexperienced welders and the visible portions of the risers were cut off without informing the authorities concerned.

From the leakages, gas accumulated inside the AC chamber and that may have come into contact with the electric spark.

The report also said that the gas pipeline was damaged during the construction of the mosque. The mosque also had illegal electricity connection.

Just before the blast, there was load-shedding and the moajjin of the mosque switched the line which resulted in the fire, the report added.

The report also mentioned that the mosque committee did not take any approval from any authority while constructing the establishment.

Nasrul Hamid, state minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, said, “None can avoid responsibility. DPDC is also investigating the incident of illegal electricity connection. “Mismanagement is the reason for such accidents. The mosque committee cannot avoid responsibility. Ministry will take a decision later after seeing all the reports.”

Narayanganj Titas Gas Ltd has already suspended eight employees, including four engineers, over the incident that claimed 31 lives and left five more critically injured.

They have also been served with a show-cause notice asking for explanations why they would not be dismissed from their jobs.

The blast took place in Baitus Salah Jame Mosque following Esha prayers on the night of September 4.