Bangladesh
11:35 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Bangladesh Has History of Fatal Factory Accidents

A woman in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Credit Peregrino Will Reign / Flickr Creative Commons
KGOU visiting Bangladesh journalist Sima Bhowmik reports on the history of problems in her nation's garment industry, including accountability of business owners.

Police in Bangladesh say the death toll from a building collapse last week has passed 400.

The eight-story Rana Plaza building housing five garment factories and other offices collapsed onto itself April 24. Workers were still pulling bodies from the rubble Wednesday.

Officials at the police control room said 399 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage and three of the injured had died at the hospital. That brought the death toll to 402 in the tragedy that was considered the worst industrial accident in Bangladesh's history.

The most recent disaster occurred just five months after a fire at a Tazreen garment factory killed more than 100 garment workers.

The workers who survived from the collapse near Dhaka claimed that they were forced to enter the building which had developed serious cracks a few days before.

Although the building owner Sohel Rana has been arrested, concerned quarters are skeptical about the punishment.

Mohammad Musa, a former secretary of the Bangladesh government and also a former director general of Bangladesh Disaster Management Bureau, said this accident is not the first of its kind.

He also said people who are responsible for previous accident were not punished. And Sohel Rana being a local leader of the ruling party, there are doubts whether he would be properly implicated or not.

Musa also said that the government should have been stricter in its position, and should think public safety first.

Musa said political parties get money from rich people like Sohel Rana during elections and that is why they do not take proper action. He mentioned that in Tazreen Garments disaster and then the Spectrum Garments disaster, no one was arrested.