RMG FACTORY SAFETY
Govt sets up body to find out errant unitsStaff Correspondent
The government on Wednesday appointed a new five-member committee to look into the safety arrangements at readymade garment factories across the country with the objective of checking recurrence of fire which on November 24 killed 112 workers and left many more injured at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia.
Led by a fire service and civil defence official the committee has been asked to identify the lapses in safety and security arrangements at apparel factories and submit a report in three months.
The fresh move came in the backdrop of the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions the victims of which were mostly women workers.
The committee members include representatives from BGMEA, BKMEA, industrial police and labour ministry.
It has been asked to look into whether or not the apparel factories across the country had adequate safety arrangements,’ home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir told reporters after a meeting he had with the stakeholders to review the probe reports on the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions.
The new committee is empowered to ask factory owners, during inspection visits, to address fire safety and security issues of workers, the minister added.
The home ministry’s investigation committee formed immediately after the deadly fire recommended bringing to book the owner and nine supervisory officials of Tazreen Fashions, including floor-in-charge and linemen for the deaths of scores of workers.
It was the county’s worst factory blaze in recent memory.
‘CID is investigating into the fire at Tazreen Fashions,
which seems to be an act of sabotage,’ said the home minister.
‘Those involved in the incident would be identified through the investigation and legal action would be taken on the basis of the CID findings,’ Muhiuddin said.
Some quarters, being jealous of the growth of the country’s readymade garment sector or of the particular company’s business might have done the sabotage,’ he said.
The representatives from the apparel factory owners and senior officials from the labour ministry and the law enforcement agencies, among others, attended the meeting to review two probe reports on Tazreen fire submitted earlier by the home ministry’s probe committee and BGMEA.
The report of the home ministry’s probe committee led by additional secretary of Main Uddin Khandaker described the blaze at Tazreen as an act of sabotage.
Main Uddin, however, said that the negligence and responsibility of the owner could not be excused in any way.
‘We suggested that the factory owner and nine others, including some linemen and the floor-in-charge should be brought to book for the loss of life of so many workers in the blaze,’ he told reporters after submitting the report on December 17.
In its 16-point recommendations, the probe body said that the government should take steps to operate mobile courts in the labour-intensive industrial belts to monitor work environment and make sure that the workers get wages in time.
It also recommended setting up of a taskforce with officials from the ministries of home, labour, environment, housing and industries to look into safety measures at all readymade factories.
At least four committees were set up to investigate the incident at the nine-storey apparel factory at Nischintapur on the capital’s suburb and Ashulia police filed a case accusing ‘unnamed people.’
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association probe found that a section of workers and officials of the factory was involved in igniting the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions.
‘We found names of some workers and officials whose activities at that time were suspicious. So we recommend that those people should be interrogated properly to find out the truth behind this tragic blaze,’ BGMEA president Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters while disclosing the findings on December 31.
The BGMEA probe report, however, did not mention the role or the responsibility of the factory owner in the incident although it said faulty material management was the reason behind the fire and the stairs of the building were faulty as well.
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