April 24 is a mourning day in the history of garments industry of Bangladesh. Just six years back, the world’s third largest industrial accident, and unique of its kind, took place on this very day in 2013. The Savar Rana Plaza collapse caused tragic deaths to 1,136 and severe injuries to another 2,438 garment workers, most of whom now have either become disabled for life or underwent mental trauma. Today, we remember and pray for all those wretched workers, who sacrificed their life, and express our deep sorrow and consolation to those who were wounded in the horrendous accident.
Precisely, the building collapsed because of critical faults in its construction as reported by different newspapers. Even, cracks on several pillars of the building came into sight 24 hours before the collapse but the workers were forced to carry on their job. Local administration, too, was at that time accused of their remissness of the highest degree. Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, was arrested from Benapole while crossing the border to India. Following the incident, Bangladesh’s GSP facilities in US market were cancelled on certain conditions. Even if the current government’s worker-friendly policies, in this regard, have changed the scenario to a whole lot, there are many areas still remaining unattended.
It is alleged that many, who worked at factories in Rana Plaza, have remained denied of their promised compensation. Workers, who partially lost their working ability, have also been shown the door. An Action Aid study came up with the data that 48.7 per cent of the garment workers injured in Rana Plaza collapse have not been doing any work for at least six months. The remaining 51.3 per cent are garment workers, day labourers or domestic workers earning very poor amount of money. Only a handful of them are doing their own small businesses. The study also said 70.5 per cent injured are not in a good state of health, and among them 12 per cent are still in a critical condition.
The catastrophic accident although created scope of rectifying the security system to provide workers with a secure working atmosphere, owners seemed to have hardly taken any lesson from it. Reportedly, there still prevail security risks in more than one thousand garment factories, from which any grisly incident may occur any time. It is unfortunate that life or death of working class people matters little to the owners. We hope the government’s attitude is not the same. We would like to believe anomalies existing in the garment sector will be addressed, by the government, with the toughest measures possible