Saturday, January 15, 2005

Fire, deaths and squabbling

A fire swept through a garments factory in Narayangany, killing a score of workers. Fire extinguishers were either not present, or did not work. There was no alternative route for victims to use. They were consumed by the flames. The unions are protesting and national figures such as Dr. Kamal Hossain have condemned the lack of safety. Unfortunately, a similar incident occurred in a factory, also in Narayanganj. Workers died in a fire. The same leaders made impassioned speeches. Nothing happened. At the same time, the businessmen’s lobbying group, the BGMEA, has been busy in the courts. The government had appointed an administrator, allegedly to influence that association’s forthcoming elections. So while workers die, and we now wait to see the impact of a post-quota world, our businessmen and government are squabbling for position. Don’t be surprised if one-third to one-half of the factories are closed in 2007. Those responsible are too busy to care it seems

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