Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in parliament yesterday that the Ashulia garment factory fire was "pre-planned" and urged the people, garment owners and workers to remain alert to foil any subversive activities in future.
Meanwhile, Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said the government would shut down garment factories which had no or only one fire and emergency exit.
“Now it's been proved that it's not a mere accident. There is no doubt that it's a pre-planned incident,” Hasina said, citing the arrests of two garment workers on charges of setting fire to Debonair garment in Ashulia.
It may be mentioned that some people allegedly set fire to Debonair garment factory on Sunday at around lunch time. This fire, however, seems not to have any link with Saturday's fire at Tazreen Fashions. The fire at Debonair was immediately doused by the factory fire fighters with no casualty reported. Police arrested two people in this connection.
Taking the floor in the House during an unscheduled discussion, Hasina said those behind the incident must be identified through investigation.
Terming the incident “very unfortunate,” the prime minister said, “[I] don't know when playing games with people's lives will end.”
After the country's Liberation War, jute warehouses were set on fire as the country was earning remittances through exporting the golden fibre, Hasina said, adding that now attacks were being made on the garment sector that had been earning foreign currency.
Participating in the discussion, Awami League-led ruling alliance MPs demanded that the government identify the masterminds behind the fire and take stern action against them.
Worker's Party chief Rashed Khan Menon said incidents of fire in garment factory were nothing new. “They have been happening regularly. But owners of garment factories were never brought to book over their negligence in ensuring safety in the factories.”
RMG LEADERS MEET RAJU
Leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association yesterday met the labour minister at the latter's secretariat office yesterday and discussed the fire incident.
After the meeting, Raju told journalists that until the garment factories constructed more than one emergency exits, those would remain shut.
The ministry would soon start an investigation in this regard, he added.
Meanwhile, Raju at another meeting with his ministry officials and police said the Labour Welfare Foundation under his ministry would hand over Tk 1 crore to the prime minister for the Ashulia fire victims.
A seven-member committee had been formed to determine within three days the extent of damage and casualties, he said.