Friday's fire incident at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport raises a good number of questions about the kind of security which prevails there. To be sure, the fire reportedly began possibly through a defective electricity circuit at the offices of an airline. From that perspective, it can be said that such accidents are not beyond the normal. But when it comes to the question of security at an airport of international standard and when that airport happens to be Bangladesh's main link with the outside world, incidents of fire can arouse serious worry.
The seriousness is compounded by the fact that globally there have recently been concerns about lax security at the airport in Dhaka. There are no direct cargo flights from Dhaka to Europe and other parts of the western world, which indeed is embarrassing for Bangladesh. Moreover, it has been noticed at the airport that security-related individuals from different countries happen to be present when Bangladeshis fly to their countries.
It does not put us in good light and indeed strikes at our self-esteem. Add to that the regular complaints about missing baggage at the airport, especially of those who come into the country from abroad. These are facts that need to be taken into serious consideration as the civil aviation authorities discuss newer and more appropriate ways of dealing with security concerns at the airport.
As it is, over the past many months, there has certainly been a good deal of improvement where security is the question at Hazrat Shahjalal Airport. The system of allowing people to enter the concourse halls on purchase of tickets has been a good measure. However, care must be taken that other than family members and friends of departing and arriving passengers no one is permitted to be there, even with valid tickets.
The presence of cab and microbus drivers in the halls is surely not a good sight for passengers to be confronted with. Let this issue be dealt with. Additionally, before many airline counters at the airport, there is often an absence of adequate lighting facilities. That must be addressed too. Finally, we expect a report to emerge on the fire incident, the better to avoid similar mishaps in future.
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