16:43:48 local time CHINA
* President Xi salutes workers, urges unions to be innovative:
President Xi Jinping paid tribute to outstanding workers on Sunday and called on the country’s trade unions to be innovative and adjust to social changes.
Xi made the speech at a meeting with recipients of the “Model Workers” title at the headquarters of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, just ahead of International Workers’ Day, which falls on May 1.
He said he expects the working class to set an example in realizing the country’s collective dream of national revival.
“Happiness does not fall out of the blue and the dream will not come true by itself,” he said. “We need to be down-to-earth and work hard.”
The working class is a reliable and firm foundation for the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as a primary force in building a moderately prosperous society, according to the president.
China should lean on the working class in its efforts to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, he added. read more.
16:43:48 local time PHILIPPINES
* Gov’t to labor: wait for non-wage benefits:
There may be no announcement of wage increase on May 1 but workers are encouraged not to shut their doors to the non-wage benefits that will be presented by government.
Malacañang has called on labor groups to keep an open mind on the package of non-wage benefits that will be rolled out on Labor Day.
Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said President Aquino will hold dialogue with labor leaders in the Palace this week to tackle their concerns. For the dialogue to be effective, Valte expressed hope the representatives of labor groups will listen to the government’s proposed non-wage benefits and not reject it outright.
15:43:48 local time LAOS
* Labour organisation pledges to represent workers:
President of Lao Federation of Trade Unions, Mr Khamla Lorlonesy confirmed on 25 April, to further pay a close attention to the protection of factory workers’ interest and role.
Mr Khamla’s statement released last week that his organisation will further monitor the implementation of minimum wage of factory workers (626,000 kip) because some factories have been found failing to implement the minimum wage allowed by the government.
The statement came out to mark the upcoming 127th anniversary of May Day on 1 May, which federation will organize many activities to mark the day such as lecturing and walking.
Mr. Khamla has recalled a long-profile of May Day which has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. May Day is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries.
So the Labour Day becomes the international annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. to read.
15:43:48 local time CAMBODIA
* A Large scale Event Calls for Fire Safety in Cambodia:
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are to o rganize the World Day for Occupational Safety and Health(OSH) at Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Phnom Penh on 28 April 2013.
This event will center on the need for greater attention to fire safety in the Kingdom. Some 1,200 representatives of the government, employers, trade unions including hundreds of workers are expected to take part in the morning long activities which will start with a march.
Participants in blue Tshirts and caps will carry specially printed flags with the campaign theme, placards and banners to the ceremony venue where they will enjoy speeches by esteemed guests including the Minister of Labour, safety show, and workers’ practical proposals on fire safety atwork.
“OSH Day is an important reminder to those in the world of work to be absolutely vigilant in protecting employees’ safety and health. In terms of fire safety, we advocate that employers operate a robust system to prevent any incidents. Practical steps that must be taken in factories include the training of group leaders among employees, proper signage and regular maintenance of fire safety equipment,” said Dr. Leng Tong, Director of Occupational Health and Safety Department in MoLVT.
14:43:48 local time BANGLA DESH
* Rescuers find little rhythm of life under concrete ruins:
Rescuers today prepare to launch the second phase of the salvage campaigns as they found little rhythm or pulses of life under tonnes of rubbles retrieving alive 2,443 people and retrieving 367 bodies since an eight-storey Rana Plaza collapsed four days ago.
“I would like to tell you, we are getting little rhythm of life under the debris . . . even if some people are alive they are not responding,” commander of the salvage campaign Major General Hassan Sarwardy told newsmen near the collapse site at suburban Savar.
Emerging from a coordination meeting of the rescue agencies, he said rescuers were asked to come out from inside the debris shortly as they were exhausting their efforts to rescue alive the last nine people who were found alive under the concrete rubble of illegally built Rana Plaza. read more.
* Survivors found under Bangladesh factory ruin:
Bangladesh rescuers have located nine people alive inside the rubble of a multi-story building that collapsed five days ago, as authorities announced they will now use heavy equipment to drill a central hole from the top to look for survivors and dead bodies.
On Sunday, at least 362 people were confirmed dead in the collapse of the eight-storey building that housed five garment factories. The death toll is expected to rise further, but it is already the deadliest tragedy to hit Bangladesh’s garment industry, which is worth $20 billion annually and a mainstay of the economy.
Officials said that they had arrested Sohel Rana, the owner of the garment factory block that collapsed, on Sunday as he was attempting to flee to India.
Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, the coordinator of the rescue operations and a major-general in the army, said they will try to save the nine people first by manually shifting concrete blocks with the help of light equipment such as pick axes and shovels. read more.
* Death toll rises to 373:
At least 373 garments workers have been found dead and thousands others injured as an 8-storied building–Rana Plaza–collapsed in Savar bus stand area of Dhaka on Wednesday morning.
The rescue team identified some 348 bodies and handed over to family and relatives till 03:55pm Sunday.
Death toll may rise as many others were still trapped in the collapsed building. Police and hospital sources confirmed the matter to banglanews. read more.
* BB asked to freeze building, factory owners’ accounts:
The High Court on Sunday directed the Bangladesh Bank authorities to freeze the bank accounts of the Savar building owner and proprietors of five garment factories housed in Rana Plaza.
The court also directed the authorities concerned to pay the salaries and other benefits of workers from their accounts of the six under the supervision of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The HC also asked four high officials of the government including deputy inspector general of industrial police to appear before it by April 30 to explain their role in connection with the building collapse. read more. & read more.
* Left parties call off May 2 hartal:
Left parties have withdrawn their May 2 countrywide shutdown as the BNP-led 18-party alliance has called hartal for the same day protesting the deaths in Savar building collapse.
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) and Ganatantrik Bam Morcha on Sunday called off the hartal a day after announcing the programme on the same issue.
The left parties came up with the decision apprehending that the alliance activists may carry out violence centring the hartal and shift the blame on them.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Don’t try to cash in Savar incident: PM:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today made a fervent call to the opposition to refrain from calling hartal and destructive activities to cash in the tragic Savar incident.
“It’s time for saving the lives of people.. It’s time to extend hand for rescue operation and at least support the rescuers. It’s not time for hartal, destroying transports and swoop attack on mills and factories,” she said. read more.
* Rana flown to Dhaka:
Sohel Rana, the owner of the nine-storey Savar building that collapsed four days ago, has been brought to Dhaka Sunday afternoon by a helicopter couple of hours into his arrest in Benapole, Jessore district.
The helicopter of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) landed at Tejgaon old airport around 5:00pm from where he was taken to the headquarters of the elite force at Uttara.
A Rab team arrested Rana around 3:05pm at his friend’s residence in Ball Field area, reported our Jessore correspondent. read more. & read more. & read more.
* Savar Tragedy: Phantom owner Aminul placed on 11-day remand:
A Dhaka court on Sunday placed Aminul Islam, chairman of Phantom Apparels Ltd and Phantom Tek Ltd, on 11 days’ remand in two cases filed in connection with the Rana Plaza collapse.
Senior Judicial Magistrate Wasim Sheikh passed the order when Savar thana police produced him before his court seeking remand for him.
Sub-inspector Mohammad Kaisar Matabbar, also the investigation officer of the cases, produced Aminul before the court seeking seven days’ remand in each of the cases. On the other hand, his lawyer Mohammad Sirajul Islam filed a bail petition.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Cracks on 4-storey commercial building in Narayanganj:
Around 2,000 people have been evacuated from a four-storey commercial building in Narayanganj city as several cracks developed there Sunday afternoon.
The building, located at Deobhog area, houses nearly 200 tailor shops and other shops including departmental stores, reported our Narayanganj correspondent.
Panic gripped the people working in the tailor shops and its adjacent others when they found cracks on the building Sunday morning quoting Manjur Kader, officer-in-charge of Narayanganj Sadar Police Station. read more. & read more.
* Rana Plaza Collapse: PM likely to visit Savar to see rescue operation:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit Savar tomorrow (Monday) morning to see the operation to rescue the victims of eight-storey Rana Plaza collapse.
She will also visit Enam Medical College Hospital in Savar to enquire about the treatment of the injured persons admitted there after they were rescued from the Rana Plaza site. read more. & read more.
* Savar tragedy toll hits 371:
Rescue operation with heavy equipment to begin soon
The death toll from the horrific building collapse at Savar reached 371 with the recovery of several more bodies from the ruins on Sunday as the search for the survivors goes on.
Director of Inter-Services Public Relations M Shaheenul Islam at a press briefing at the spot around 5:15 pm said the second phase of rescue operation with heavy equipment to rescue the trapped people who are still alive would begin soon.
The rescue operation was being conducted under the manual system since the Rana Plaza caved in on Wednesday morning. “But from now on, the rescue operation will be conducted under the equipment and evacuation system,” he said.
read more. & read more.
* Sohel Rana held 4 days after tragedy- faces life term if found guilty:
He forced workers to work in his abandoned building: Rab DG
Four days after the Savar tragedy, members of elite force Rab arrested Sohel Rana, the owner of the collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar, from Benapole in Jessore on Sunday, foiling his bid to flee to India.
From Jessore, Rana was flown in Tejgaon Airport (Old) in Dhaka around 5pm by a Rab helicopter. He was later taken to the Rab headquarters in Uttara around 5.30pm and produced him before the media with valuables and two bottles of Phensidyl recovered from his possession.
Briefing reporters about Rana’s arrest, Director General of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Moklesur Rahman said a Rab team from Dhaka flown to Beanpole by a helicopter on information that Rana might flee to India through Benapole border, and tracked him down.
read more. & read more.& read more.& read more. & read more.
* Man behind 377 deaths captured:
Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza that collapsed on Wednesday leaving at least 377 dead and scores injured, was arrested from Benapole in Jessore yesterday afternoon after being on the run for five days.
Rana went to Benapole in efforts to cross the border without a passport. He was hiding at a human trafficker’s house in Ball Field area, about 0.5 kilometres from the Indian border, Rab said.
In Savar yesterday, as soon as the news of the arrest was announced by Jahangir Kabir Nanak, state minister for LGRD and cooperatives, over a loudspeaker in front of the collapsed Rana Plaza, locals burst into cheers. read more.
* Probe body asks AC (land) to hand in Rana Plaza’s land documents:
A home ministry committee probing Wednesday’s Rana Plaza tragedy at Savar has asked the local assistant commissioner (land) to hand in to it the land documents of the collapsed multi-storied building, which housed five apparel factories, a busy shopping mall and a bank branch.
At its first meeting at the secretariat on Sunday the committee worked out the modalities of the investigation, said officials.
‘We have sought the land-related documents of the collapsed building from Savar AC (land) to ascertain who owned the piece of land on which the multi-storied Rana Plaza was built,’ the probe committee chief, additional secretary Main Uddin Khondaker, told New Age on Sunday. read more.
* Rescuers defer 2nd phase for more survivors:
Bangladesh today deferred for hours their second phase salvage campaigns to remove rubbles of eight-storey building using heavy cranes and dozers as rescuers said they were trying to retrieve alive manually the last few survivors.
“The second phase of the salvage campaign was halted for hours as it could endanger the last few survivers under the tonnes of rubbles . . . we will go for mechanical methods as soon as the last (manual) efforts to retrieve them are exhausted,” a fire service official told newsmen at the scene.
His comments came as a rescue worker in a voice choked with emotion
described the newsmen how a young girl appealed to him for retrieval saying “she was repeatedly telling me, don’t leave me brother”. read more.
* Muhith stresses conducting surveys on RMG factories:
Observing that RMG industries have sprung up in the country like mushrooms over the past 30 years, Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Sunday suggested conducting surveys on the factories to review their overall conditions, including their building designs and fire safety measures.
“Apart from the BGMEA and the BKMEA, the government should also have to take steps to conduct such surveys to pinpoint the shortcomings …because this is important for the whole industry and also for the safety of workers,” he said.
The Finance Minister was talking to reporters after a delegation of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) met him at his secretariat office. REHAB president Nasrul Hamid Bipu led the delegation. read more.
* Workers continue agitation over Savar tragedy:
Garment workers blockaded Dhaka-Mymensingh highway in Gazipur for one and a half hours on Sunday demanding capital punishment to the owners of Rana Plaza and other RMG units housed in the ill-fated building that collapsed on April 24.
The workers, who vandalised two passenger buses on the highway, also demanded immediate resignation of Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir for his derogatory comment over the building collapse, reports our Gazipur correspondent quoting police.
Over 3,000 agitated workers put barricades at different points from Bhabanipur to Rajendrapur around 11:00am, creating a six-kilometre tailback on both sides of the highway, said Rafiqul Islam, a sub-inspector of Hotapara Highway Police in Gazipur.
read more. & read more.
* Workers block Dhaka-Mymensingh highway:
At least five workers were injured in a clash between workers and police during a road barricade on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway at Hotapara in Sadar upazila on Sunday.
Police said several hundred workers of several ceramic, food and tiles factories aided by garment workers blocked the highway at the point at about 10:30am, demanding punishment of the owners of Rana Plaza and garment factories for the building collapse in Savar. read more.
* Apparel workers run riot:
Hundreds of apparel workers damaged factories and vehicles and had blocked the Dhaka–Mymensingh Highway for about three hours at Hotapara in the Gazipur district headquarters.
At least 10 people were injured as the police charged at them with truncheons fired teargas shells and blank shots to disperse them from the highway.
The workers demanded the arrest and punishment of owners of Rana
Plaza and the clothing factories that were housed in the building, which collapsed on Wednesday morning, leaving about 400 dead by Sunday evening. The workers held protests for the third day on Sunday.
The workers damaged FuWang Ceramics, Sunflower Food and Ceramics and Galaxy Ceramics factories about 11:00am, the police and witnesses said. They also damaged some vehicles.
The workers were demanding closure of the ceramics factories for the day, Hotapara police outpost subinspector Rafiqul Islam said. Traffic on the highway resumed about 12:30am. to read.
* Punish Savar UNO, demand RMG workers:
Apparel workers have demanded punishment of Savar upazila nirbahi officer M Kabir Hossain Sarder, who assured that ‘the building is safe for the workers’ about 13 hours before the country’s deadliest building collapse.
Several hundred apparel workers on Sunday took out a procession near the collapsed building at Savar, chanting slogans against the building owner, Sohel Rana, and UNO Kabir Hossain.
The protesters demanded capital punishment for both Sohel and Kabir as they ‘had manipulated them into returning to work in danger’. read more.
* Savar Tragedy: Death toll now 397:
The death toll from the collapsed building in Savar jumped to 397 on Sunday.
Of the total bodies, 346 were handed over to the victims’ families.
2440 people have been rescued alive till now.
The rescuers also recovered four people alive from the ruins of the building early Sunday.
“Heavy equipments will now use carefully from mid-day today to rescue trapped alive inside the collapsed building”, said General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Savar Cantonment Major General Chowdhury Hasan, today at a press briefing.
The building, ‘Rana Plaza’, which developed cracks on Tuesday morning, collapsed after a big bang around 9.00 am on Wednesday. to read.
* World leaders mourn Savar Tragedy:
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V Putin, Premier of the State Council of People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang, President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Yun Byung-se and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Lee Yun-young, expressed deepest condolence in separate messages over the loss of lives in Savar tragedy.
In their messages, they conveyed their sincere condolence and sympathy as well as solidarity with the bereaved families of all the victims in Savar tragedy.
The European Commission expressed their readiness to assist the government of Bangladesh particularly by supporting the current efforts to reinforce safety standards in commercial buildings.
to read. & read more.
* Building, garment owners responsible for Savar tragedy: Probe body chief:
The Home ministry inquiry committee, formed to investigate the Savar tragedy, in its preliminary investigation, found the owners of Rana Plaza and the garment factories housed in the huge complex responsible for the dreadful incident.
Talking to UNB, Mainuddin Khandokar, the head of the probe body formed by the Home Ministry, said “The owner of the Rana Plaza set up the building by violating the Building Code and using his political clout.”
“The owners of the building and garment factories forced the workers to work in the building on the fateful day though the cracks had appeared in it two days ago. It’s not an accident as it happened due to their negligence,” he said after conducting a two-day inquiry into the incident.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* 2 Savar Municipality engineers suspended:
The government has suspended Savar Municipality executive engineer Imtemam Hossain and assistant engineer M Alam Mia.
The Local Government Division issued an order in this regard on Sunday.
The order said action was taken against the two engineers under section 46(4) of the Municipality Employees Service Rules-1992 as they were arrested in connection with the collapse of Rana Plaza under Savar Municipality. to read.
* Factory watch just farcical:
51 inspectors for monitoring two lakh factories
The government’s department tasked with enforcement of laws to ensure safety of workers cannot perform its functions properly due to acute crisis of manpower and logistics.
The Department of Inspection for factories and establishment under the labour and employment ministry is supposed to oversee more than two lakh factories including over 5,000 readymade garment factories and establishments countrywide, insiders say.
The department has only 51 inspectors to do the massive task. Another 52 approved posts for inspectors remain vacant for long, they add.
“It is just an eyewash what we do in the name of inspection,” a senior official of the department told The Daily Star on condition of anonymity. read more.
* Factories to remain open from Monday: BGMEA:
President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Atiqul Islam on Sunday urged the garment workers to join their works to protect the country’s RMG sector.
“Garment factories will remain open from tomorrow (Monday)… the factories must remain operational in the greater interest of the nation and the country’s economy. I request all the garment workers to maintain discipline and join their works,” he told a press conference at BGMEA Bhaban in the evening.
He said the BGMEA has already formed a nine-member probe body, led by its second vice president, to probe the Savar building collapse and the committee has been asked to submit its report within the next 10 days. read more. & read more.
* ‘Benetton’ clothes at Bangladesh site:
Shirts with Benetton labels have been found in the wreckage of a garment factory block in Bangladesh where 376 people died.
However, the Italian group denies it used a supplier there.
Blue shirts labelled “United Colors of Benetton” were photographed by AFP at the scene where the manufacturer New Wave Bottoms was based.
New Wave Bottoms lists Benetton as a client on its website.
When asked about its links, the fashion label stated last week that “people involved in the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh were not Benetton Group’s suppliers.”
But AFP has received copies of production documents appearing to show an order by Benetton from September last year for nearly 30,000 items. These documents were submitted to Benetton for comment, but it did not reply to repeated emails.
* Factories evacuated:
Workers and machineries were evacuated from a four-storey building on Sunday afternoon after it tilted aside in the capital’s Benarashi Palli at Mirpur.
Located at Block-C of Section-11, the building tilted towards the western side developing cracks at different places of the walls of two adjacent one-storey buildings.
Two shoe factories were housed on the ground and first floor while two garments units on the second and third floor of the building constructed on a small piece of land.
“Soon after we could know about it, we sealed it off by evacuating all the workers and machineries from it considering their safety,” said Imtiaz Ahmed, deputy commissioner (Mirpur division).
He said the owner of the building Bhutto Miah has gone into hiding.
* PM’s Relief Fund receives Tk 1.5cr more for Savar victims:
Bsic Bank Ltd on Sunday donated Tk 1.5 crore to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for the Savar building collapse victims.
Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu, chairman of the bank, handed over a cheque for the amount to the Prime Minister at her official residence Ganobhaban in the evening, PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said. to read.
* Another Rana Plaza RMG unit owner held:
Detectives arrested owner of a garment factory housed in Rana Plaza from capital’s Ramna area Sunday four days after the deadly collapse of the building.
Dhaka district Detective branch of police arrested Anisur Rahman, Chairman of Ether Tex, around 9:45pm, Masudur Rahman, DC of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told The Daily Star.
Earlier on Saturday, police arrested two owners of garment factories housed in the Rana Plan. to read.& read more.
* Corruption caused Rana Plaza to collapse, say JS panel chairs:
The chairmen of parliamentary standing committees at a pre-budget discussion with finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith at the secretariat on Sunday named corruption as the cause of Wednesday’s tragic building collapse at Savar.
They said incidents like the Rana Plaza collapse would be recurring, if the pervasive corruption could not be eliminated.
They recommended tough government action for tackling corruption as Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza, took recourse to illegal means to construct the building that housed five garment factories. read more.
* Confusion over deaths, missing:
The death toll in the worst building collapse was revised down on Sunday.
Savar police Inspector Aminur Rahman put the count in Wednesday’s Rana Plaza collapse at 377 at around 3pm. He earlier had said the figure was 397.
“There was some mistake in the count,” the police officer in charge at the Adhar Chandra School – the place where bodies were being kept – said.
He added a total of 320 bodies were handed over to the relatives and 57 more, awaiting recognition, were sent to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital and Mitford Hospital.
Similar ‘confusions’ were also looming over the number of people stilling missing.
Although, authorities earlier said the number is 1168, Sub-Inspector Abdul Alim said they were not being able to count the number properly at this moment due to “lack of time.” read more.
* Savar disaster relief needs close monitoring:
The deaths of about 350 people and injury of about 2000 others in the collapse of the eight-storied Rana Plaza building in Savar, point not only to the threat of similar accidents but also to inadequacy of preparedness to face such disasters.
Witness accounts of the rescue operations indicate that the fire service-civil defence and army personnel from the 9th Division located nearby rushed there soon after the Wednesday morning collapse of the building causing the deaths and making the trapped ones scream for saving their lives, the rescuers were not adequately equipped to do the job.
People who rushed from the vicinity joined them voluntarily lending helping hands to the fire service and army personnel. It was however not until the arrival of the engineering corps of the army – which had heavy equipment to do the job – late in the same afternoon that more systematic rescue work began. read more.
* BGMEA pledges wages this week:
BGMEA and BKMEA- two apex trade body for apparel and knitwear manufacturers in joint emergency meeting on Saturday have decided to pay wages and other benefits of five factories of Rana Plaza within in a week.
They also made an appealed to the nation and the labour organizations for cooperation to keep the thousands garments factories in Dhaka and Chittagong running from Monday.
“Total garment industry and the image of the country has fallen victim of image crisis globally from the accident and keeping factories closed will add more to such crisis,” they said in a press briefing after holding the meeting of the two trade bodies.
They urged the government and the oppositions to cooperate in promoting safety and security in the garments factories, its workers and transports, which carry the merchandise to and from the port.
They demanded immediate arrest of the owner of the building along with the engineers, who were responsible to issue permission to construct
the structure badly. They urged the factory owners of the building to surrender to the court soon. read more.
* BGMEA in Ctg seeks security of garment workers:
Leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Chittagong stressed on the security of the garment workers in Chittagong. The BGMEA organised a discussion meeting and milad mahfil on the tragic accident at Rana Plaza at Savar Sunday afternoon.
The programme was held at the conference room of BGMEA Bhaban.
The meeting was presided over by its First Vice-President Mohammed Nasir Uddin.
Nasir Uddin said, “All owner should take necessary steps for the security of the workers. From now, all owners are requested to present at the factories and ensure the security of the workers to avoid unwanted pathetic accidents like Savar in Dhaka.” read more.
* BGMEA and ‘image crisis’:
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has demanded punishment to the owners and engineers of Rana Plaza against the background of the collapse of the nine-storey building in Savar. The sentiment is appreciated.
It means to have owners of garment factories ensure structural security of their enterprises and submit reports to it to this end, failing which the BGMEA will move to cancel the licences of errant garment firms. This sentiment too is appreciated.
What worries the public, though, is the ire expressed by BGMEA members at an extraordinary general meeting on Saturday regarding the role of the media in the aftermath of the Savar tragedy.
The media, so believe these garment factory owners, have been exaggerating the tragedy through constantly uploading graphic images of the accident and thereby creating an image crisis for the industry in the global arena. What exaggeration? What graphic images? What image crisis?
read more. & read more.
* RMG makers to sit with buyers today to discuss Savar tragedy:
Leading apparel makers will sit with the buyers’ representatives today (Monday) to discuss the prevailing situation following the Savar industrial tragedy and find out ways to restore the image badly affected by the deadliest incident, the industry insiders said.
The collapse of a multi-storey building at Savar five days ago that has so far left more than 350 people dead, most of them garment workers, and several hundred others injured, attracted serious attention from international quarters, including the global apparel buyers. read more.
* Owners fear unrest as factories reopen today:
Worried garment manufacturers are in a dilemma, as RMG units are set to reopen today (Monday) after two days of closure in fear of further workers’ unrest, industry leaders said.
Earlier, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) suspended production in the factories for two days (Saturday and Sunday) to avoid large-scale labour unrest following the Savar tragedy. read more.
* Fire at Rana Plaza tunnel under control:
A fire that erupted in one of the tunnels drilled through the debris of collapsed Rana Plaza has been brought under control.
bdnews24.com Correspondent Ashik Hossain said smoke suddenly started to come out from the tunnel after some clothes of the garment factories housed in the nine-storey commercial building caught fire when rescuers were cutting steel rods to pull out people alive.
He quoted the rescuers as saying that the fire would not stop the salvage efforts.
A similar case of fire was happened on Thursday but fire fighters also responded quickly then. to read.
* The Savar tragedy:
This is not something new for Bangladesh to witness. Buildings collapsed earlier and killed many. But those did not wake up the government machinery to do something worthwhile for the people.
From such incidents, it is easy to deduct that human lives here have no meaning or value for the money-making machines. Money-making machine could be the government itself or some ignorant individuals who couldn’t care less for their workers. If one recollects, there was a time when the garment workers were not paid in time for lack of funds but the owner spent two hundred thousand takas on his dogs every month regularly (as reported in the media). Imagine the audacity! Had there been a properly functioning government of any sort, this dog-owner would definitely have gone for a high jump (as they say in a sophisticated society).
* Not accident but murder:
Do we see any difference between Tazreen Garments and Rana Plaza causality? Does anyone give a new cause about what happened at Savar? A close inspection gives us two causes, greed and selfishness of garments owners. In order to explain the fact, we have to go to five months back at Tazreen Garments, where workers were forced to work when the fire alarm rang.
The manager acted as an alarm specialist, assured the workers that it was fault of the alarm and insisted on their working. But the specialist did a great mistake. Fire broke out causing 112 workers’ death and injury to hundreds of people. After five months, a building showed crack at the same date but at different location. Engineers recommended not to use the building but owners of the garments, situated in it, and the owner of the Rana Plaza acted as engineer and forced the workers to work in that cracked building. The result is painful as ever. read more.
* Factory collapse: Murders bred by greed:
Call it a coincidence or not, the government’s response to the USTR’s (United States Trade Representative) queries and the collapse of the eight-storey building that housed five garment factories on the outskirts of Dhaka at Savar killing several hundred workers appear to pose as intermingling affairs.
It was the morning of April 24 when the horrifying collapse took place, hours before the government sent its response to the queries of the USTR assuring the latter of immediate steps being taken to ensure safe workplace conditions including an improvement on the existing labour rights situation in the country. One may tend to see how through the series of manmade catastrophes the garment sector is perilously hanging around the guilt-ridden neck of the country seeking deliverance.
* Employers’ lack of concern or the government’s apathy?:
The anomaly in $19bn garment industry
The apparel sector in Bangladesh has been experiencing a sustained boom since the late 1990s. By 2007/08, the sector was earning more than $10 billion in the form of proceeds from sales.
It earned $19 billion in the year 2012 and thus emerged as the impoverished nation’s biggest export-oriented sector. Bangladesh is now the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China. But the saddest part of the story is Bangladesh’s garments sector and the workers continue to be neglected as ever.
The government needs to explain how the factory owners are able to get away after flouting the labour law and other rules. Who are the proponents? Why is there so much incongruity in abiding by the factory rules? Who is responsible for this unforgivable irregularity? Is that the employers’ lack of concern or the government’s apathy? read more.
* 12 hours in grave-like darkness with seven dead fellows:
Teenager Rina is yet to overcome the trauma of passing more than 12 hours in grave-like darkness along with seven of her work mates, all dead, and was getting abnormal recalling the horror.
She now has no intention to return the workplace which she likens to a gateway to hell.
Rina had joined work unwillingly on that fateful morning on Wednesday along with her seven mates on the seventh floor of the collapsed Rana Plaza. All of a sudden everything went dark and it continued till rescuers took her out breaking the wall in the night, she recalled.
‘It was grave-like darkness. I could not understand whether it was day or night. All my mates died and I was surrounded by their bodies. I am the lone one who came out alive,’ she said casting a blank look.
There was no room to change side under the rubble as body of one her mates fell on her and a large chunk of wall had fallen on the body.
Rina said she was unwilling to join work on Wednesday, the day of death and destruction at the factory where cracks had been spotted on the previous day. At the insistence of one of her friends Swapna, she went to join work. read more.
* Hopes fading, flickering:
The stench of decaying bodies filled the air around the ruins of Rana Plaza with the death toll reaching 377 yesterday, the fifth day into the building’s collapse.
Rescuers refrained from employing heavy equipment to remove the debris after being confirmed that four people — three women and a man — were still alive under the wreckage.
Meanwhile, another person was pulled out of the wreckage around 12:00noon, taking the number of people rescued so far to 2,437. read more.
* Waiting for a miracle:
Relatives of victims yet to be rescued or recovered hold their photos high at Adhar Chandra High School playground in Savar so that rescuers who are bringing in bodies can identify them. Photo: Sk enamul haq
As a few hundred pairs of eyes, weary of the long wait, were glued to the narrow tunnel leading out of the now-flattened Rana Plaza, an announcement sounded the most pleasing intimation of all: “A man has been rescued alive.”
It worked like magic, especially when common sense rules out chances of anyone’s survival inside the rubble for five days.
Several hundred people jostled to have a peek at the man being whisked off by an ambulance, everyone praying it were the one he was waiting for.
But Sadique was just the one the rescuers could recover alive till afternoon yesterday, knowledge that filled the waiting crowd with a heavy gloom.
The list posted there said nearly 1,300 were missing, though the list still has on it some of those already recovered alive or found dead. read more.
* RMG owners blind to amass wealth at the cost of workers:
Leaders of different professional bodies have termed the Savar tragedy as a dreaded “mass killing’ with least care to the lives and safety of workers from garment factory owners.
They said, factory owners have become blind to amass wealth and get quick rich, they are showing the face of ugly capitalism defeating all human values. It must be stopped enforcing safety at work places and other workers rights.
Demanding proper compensation for the families of the deceased and injured workers of the Savar tragedy, they said
the government must take the responsibility of the mass killing and ensure capital punishment to the owners of Rana Plaza and owners of the five RMG units which were housed in the commercial building.
They said, garments owners have amassed huge wealth over the years exploiting the poor workers with a minimum wage and depriving from other legitimate benefits.
* Citizens call for resistance against greedy owners:
A civic forum representing teachers, students and workers on Sunday urged people to get united against ‘greedy owners’ of garment factories and ensure justice of the mass-killing at Rana Plaza in Savar.
They made the call at a protest rally in front of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association headquarters demanding maximum punishment of the owners of Rana Plaza and five garments factories located in the collapsed building killing several hundred workers and injuring hundreds of others. read more.
* Rana Plaza: 2nd phase of critical rescue operation begins:
Nearly 111 hours after the Rana Plaza collapse at Savar, the rescuers launched the second phase of operation at the building on Sunday midnight with heavy equipment to remove the debris.
“The second phase of rescue operation has started with two hydraulic cranes,” ISPR director M Shahinul Islam told UNB around 12:10am.
He said the cranes were brought from Jatrabari which were being used in Jatrabari Mayor Hanif Flyover.
The heavy equipment are being used as the rescuers apparently lost hope to find anyone alive under the rubble.
Some 378 bodies have so far been recovered from the rubbles while nearly 2,444 people rescued alive. read more. & read more.
* ACC forms team to probe Savar building collapse:
The Anti-Corruption Commission on Sunday formed a two-member team to investigate illegal wealth of Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza in Savar that collapsed on Wednesday and a local leader of the Awami Juba League.
The team will also investigate the processes of construction, approval, and maintenance of the nine-storey building, said an ACC official. read more.
* PM visits Rana Plaza site:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the ruined site of Savar building Monday morning, six days after the collapse of nine-storey Rana Plaza.
The building housing five garment factories, a branch of Brac Bank and a shopping mall collapsed on Wednesday.
The death toll in the disaster reached 381 so far. Till early Monday, 2,437 people were pulled out alive beneath the debris of the building.
The premier drove straight to Enam Medical College and Hospital in Savar where she spent nearly 15-minute with the injured people who have been undergoing treatment there.
She consoled the injured and enquired about their well-being.
read more. & read more.
* Twin tragedy:
It is as if misfortunes will not let go of them.
Abdus Sobhan and Lal Mia have had enough already, losing Tahura Begum, the former’s daughter and the latter’s wife, to the Rana Plaza disaster in Savar.
After Tahura’s body was recovered from the rubble on Saturday, the two along with some relatives were carrying Tahura’s body to their village home in Pabna yesterday.
But three people were killed and four others injured when the ambulance collided with a lorry on the Pabna-Nagarbari highway in Sirajganj.
Badly injured, Sobhan and Lal Mia were taking treatment at Pabna Medical College Hospital and could not attend Tahura’s funeral yesterday, family sources said.
“I’m so unlucky that I could not even attend the burial of my daughter,” Sobhan told The Daily Star at the hospital. read more.
* Insurers won’t pay RMG units of Rana Plaza:
Five apparel factories that were operating in the ill-fated Rana Plaza in Savar will not be able to file insurance claims as the garment units were housed in a faultily-constructed building, insurers said.
Of the five, New Wave Bottoms and New Wave Style have fire and marine insurance with Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd.
Building collapse is not covered by the factories’ insurance policy and so these two factories will not get the Tk 14-15 crore claims as per the policies with Green Delta, officials said.
“Even, if incidence of building collapse was included in the policy, the factories would not get the money because of the wrong foundation of the building,” said Nasir A Choudhury, managing director of Green Delta. read more. & read more.
* Workers back to work:
Production at all garment factories in Savar resumed on Monday after four-day shut.
Thousands of workers joined works as the environment seem congenial in all factories.
Confirming the matter to banglanews, Industrial police Inspector Abdus Sattar said, “All workers have joined works and they are working in peacefully.”
Earlier, workers observed work abstention protesting Savar Rana Plaza collapse which has killed at least 385 workers. to read.
* BGMEA yet to frame fire safety guideline:
The decision of the BGMEA to check structural designs of all buildings accommodating garment units has come at a time when it is yet to complete its pilot project for formulating a guideline for occupational fire safety.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has announced that it will get the structural designs of all buildings that accommodate garment factories checked by experts, engineers of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and the Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET) in the next three months. read more.
* T-shirt tax campaign for Bangladesh victims:
A new campaign has been launched in the UK to raise money for the Bangladesh factory collapse victims by urging shoppers to pay a voluntary “T-shirt tax”.
The cash is going to the charity ActionAid which will distribute it to the families of victims killed in the disaster, as well as to workers who survived.
Victoria Butler-Cole, a 36-year-old barrister from Kent who came up with the idea, said: “It seems to me we have a moral duty to help. Everyone has something in their wardrobe from Bangladesh. This isn’t just the fault of companies who supply cheap clothes.” read more.
* Never again:
As the clock ticks away, the survival prospects of hundreds of souls missing at Rana Plaza are getting dimmer. Let us say never again. Let us treat this as a human tragedy that could have been prevented, not a natural one that was beyond our control.
The catastrophe of Spectrum Garments in 2005 was mostly a failure of the building itself. The investigation report conducted by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology found that the owner had made changes to the design made by the structural engineers. He made the roof slabs thicker and columns thinner, inducing a sandwich effect.
The Tazreen tragedy had its roots in human failure. The workers were trapped in the inferno by gross human negligence. As the fire alarms rang, workers were told by the supervisors that the alarms were not working properly. Workers are generally put under lock and key to prevent pilferage. As many as 112 people were roasted alive.
* ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE:
* Writ filed for Tazreen owner’s arrest:
A writ petition was filed with the High Court seeking it’s directives to arrest the owner of Tazreen garment within seven days.
Nazneen Akter banu, Syeda Gulruk Kamal and Mahmudul Hasan filed the writ petition on Sunday.
Home secretary, Labor Secretary, BGMEA president, Inspector General of Police, Dhaka Metropolitan Deputy Commissioner of police, Savar zone assistant police super, Officer in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, owner of Tazreen Fashions, director general and deputy director of Fire Service were made defendants to the writ. read more. & read more.
14:13:48 local time INDIA
* Textile Minister assures support to South Indian industry:
The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma reviewed industry-related issues with the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, in Kovalam, Kerala.
Senior officers from the Department of Commerce and Industry, Government of India made presentations on National Manufacturing Policy, recent changes in Foreign Direct Investment regime, new guidelines for Special Economic Zone Policy, handloom and plantation sector, and eBiz Project. read more.
* Govt lifts VAT on textile goods:
The state government on Sunday lifted value added tax (VAT) on textile goods. Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy also directed the officials to withdraw the government order issued last year levying 1% VAT on textiles.
The decision taken at a cabinet sub-committee meeting followed a series of deliberation between a group of ministers and traders’ representatives on Sunday. Textile traders in Andhra Pradesh had been agitating for long, demanding removal of VAT. read more.
* H&M prepares $130m drive to crack Indian market :
Hennes & Mauritz plans to spend around 100 million euros ($130 million) on an initial 50 stores in India, hoping a growing population and rising incomes in Asia’s third-largest economy will fuel demand for its fast-changing fashions.
Fredrik Olsson, head of expansion at the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said in an interview the Swedish group would continue a rapid rollout of stores across the world as it battles to catch up with larger rival Inditex.
Both H&M and Spain’s Inditex, which owns the popular Zara brand, have fared better than most clothing retailers in a faltering global economy, thanks to a focus on bringing catwalk styles to the mass market at a fraction of the price. read more.
13:43:48 local time PAKISTAN
* APTMA sees conspiracy against CPPs, gas priority:
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) said that a conspiracy was being hatched against Punjab-based textile industry to sell expensive electricity (Rs 12 per unit) by depriving it of electricity generated by its own Captive Power Plants (CPPs).
The Association’s spokesman said here that APTMA had issued policy statement with respect to Captive Power to generate in-house electricity, adding that textile industry had invested billions of dollars on the installation of the CPPs to meet energy requirements to safeguard it from electricity shortages.
He said the industry had installed a total capacity of 3000MW CPPs on both the SSGC (Sui Southern Gas Company) and the SNGPL (Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited) networks, resulting into achieving record $14 billion exports. However, the industry could have been ruined terribly in the absence of CPPs as the electricity shortage had already played havoc with industry in Punjab.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Power crisis looms large over election:
When the gas and electricity go off, a textiles factory in Rawalpindi is forced to burn wood to manufacture bed sheets, a sign of just how abysmal Pakistan’s energy crisis has become.
Forget Taliban attacks, chronic power outages are arguably the single biggest voter complaint, casting a long shadow over next month’s historic elections and tying political parties into knots of promises that are unlikely be met.
At the Kohinoor plant in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near the capital Islamabad, the generators are as big as homes, the machines sit idle for up to 14 hours a day and there is little hope of reprieve when Pakistan’s 85 million registered voters go the ballot box on May 11.
“It’s ridiculous” says Taufique Sayeed Saigol, director of the factory, which employs 4,000 people — 2,000 fewer than it used to — catering to an ever dwindling overseas client base. read more. & read more.