Uncertainty over inspection of RMG factories in timeMoinul Haque
Current political unrest across the country has made uncertain a timely completion of garment factory inspection by the government-sponsored teams with the assistance of International Labour Organisation, officials concerned said.
They said that the government and the ILO targeted to complete the inspection of 200 readymade garment factories by December but it would not be possible as the dreadful political situation hindered the inspection programme.
To ensure fire and building safety in the RMG sector, the government in association with the ILO on November 22 had started formal inspection of the factories which are not on the inspection lists published by EU Accord and North American Alliance.
Earlier, labour secretary Mikail Shipar told New Age that under the National Tripartite Committee the government and ILO would inspect about 2,000 factories across the country.
He had said that 200 factories out of 2,000 will be inspected by December under a pilot project.
The ILO country director Srinivas D Reddy admitted that the inspection is progressing slowly due to political unrest.
‘We are unlikely to complete the inspection of 200 factories by December, at best the number could be 150,’ he told reporters on Thursday.
‘It was an agreement with the ILO that the inspection teams led by the experts of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology would complete the fire, electrical and structural safety inspection of 200 factories by December, but it would not be possible due to political unrest,’ Mehedi Ahsan Ansary, a professor of BUET, told New Age on Friday.
He said that in last one month they inspected about 65 factories which was below their required progress.
Mehedi said that a total of 15 teams were working in the field but most of the days the teams could not reach in the factory area due to frequent blockades and strikes.
‘I think it would not be possible to complete the inspection of 200 factories by December,’ he said.
Ishtiaque Ahmed, an expert of the BUET, said that the inspection was progressing in a slow pace and initial target would not be achieved in stipulated time due to political unrest.
He said that they were working only on Fridays as political parties are enforcing strikes and blockades on other working days and the 15 teams have so far inspected structural integrity of 60 factory buildings and fire safety in 40 factories.
He said though they were working on Fridays, on December 13 they cancelled their inspection programme on security ground as severe violence broke out across the country after execution of the death penalty of war crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla.
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh forged by European Union retailers and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative of North American retailers will separately inspect the factories that manufacture products for their members.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, the retailers and apparel brands from the EU and North America separately formed Accord and Alliance.
Accord published a list of around 1,600 factories while Alliance a list of around 620 apparel units for inspection.
At the same time, the government has taken a three-and-a-half-year initiative under the ILO’s programme for ‘improving working conditions in the readymade garment sector’ to ensure fire, electrical and building safety and to ensure fundamental rights of workers in the apparel industry in Bangladesh.
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