Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Govt plans fresh panel for garment factory inspection

The government yesterday decided to form a high-powered committee for regular inspection of the country’s garment factories.
The decision came at the weekly cabinet meeting, which adopted a condolence motion for the building collapse at Savar last Wednesday, which has, so far, claimed at least 381 lives and injured 2,429.
The committee, to be led by a state minister, will visit every garment factory in the country and examine the building conditions, work environment and fire safety measures.
Based on the findings, a report would be compiled for the cabinet committee, which would decide the next course of action.
“The cabinet division will shortly issue a gazette on this,” M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, cabinet secretary, told reporters after the meeting.
The committee will comprise members from the home, disaster management, industries, commerce, defence, finance, labour and employment, jute and textile, housing, and forest and environment ministries.
The country’s apex trade body, the garment owners’ platforms and various labour organisations, too, will be represented. Earlier on February 27, the prime minister said in parliament that a 10-member committee led by the labour and employment minister has been formed to monitor the garment factories and give necessary directives.
When asked about the need for another committee, the cabinet secretary said: “That body has already been working to ensure the continuation of GSP [generalised system of preferences] and for the overall development of the garment sector.”
The cabinet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair also decided in principle to update the Bangladesh National Building Code.
As the authorities concerned do not implement the code while giving approval to buildings, a proposal has been put forward to set up a separate body to ensure that the set of laws are being followed at all times.
Terming the Savar incident a “sensitive” issue, the prime minister asked the ministers to remain alert so that no vested quarters can use it for political interests.
The meeting also agreed to extend adequate financial support to the victims.