Bangladesh garment industry demands action on deadly fire report

Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:50am EST
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By Serajul Quadir

DHAKA (Reuters) - Officials in Bangladesh's ready made garment industry demanded on Tuesday quick implementation of recommendations in a report which concluded that last month's deadly fire at a textile factory was the result of both sabotage and negligence.

The investigators, who presented their report to the Home Ministry on Monday, did not single out any individual in connection with sabotage in the November 24 blaze at the Tazreen Fashion Factory in which 112 workers were killed.

But they called for legal action to be taken against the factory owner, identified as Delwar Hossein, and nine mid-level managers. Managers, the investigators said, had neglected fundamental safety precautions and failed to obtain a fire certificate.

"We demand the recommendations be implemented, meaning the owner and other culprits must be arrested and brought to book," said Amirul Huque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation.

The inquiry committee, he said, had "categorically stated" that legal action be taken against the owner and his managers under provisions of the penal code providing for fines and imprisonment of up to five years.

Main Uddin Khandaker, the chief of the investigation committee, told Reuters that members had concluded the fire was a result of sabotage on the basis of witness accounts. There was no question, he said, of the blaze being linked to bad wiring.

"This is unpardonable negligence and the owner is primarily responsible for the deaths of so many workers," Main said.

The committee recommended further investigation to identify who lay behind the sabotage at the factory in a Dhaka suburb.   Continued...

Piles of clothes are seen alongside sewing machines in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, where 112 workers died in a devastating fire last month, in Savar November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj