Saturday, April 16, 2005

risking other people's lives

A nine storey building collapsed in the suburbs of Dhaka. The death toll continues to rise and will be in triple figures. The building housed a garments factory where a few hundred workers were engaged in completing a shipment. The rescue mission is desperately trying to find survivors with sniffer dogs but after nearly a week, it is going to be about extricating bodies.
Like many buildings, the owners constructed a ramshackle entity on soft ground. It is common for developers to fill water bodies with soil and sand and build up. Land prices are shooting up and lethal buildings are sprouting up in all directions. In a few years' time, there will be an earthquake. The death toll will run in the hundreds of thousands, partly because of such criminal negligence.
The business association, BGMEA, has an opportunity to take action, leading from the front. They must insist on a safe working environment for employees and management. In a post quota world, it is unlikely to happen. The garments industry is likely to lose out big time from 2007 onwards as buyers establish supply chains elsewhere. In the meanwhile, profiteers will put people in risk, knowing that there will always be takers for $1 a day or even 50 cents a day jobs.....


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