New Fire Breaks Out In Bangladesh Garment Factory; Thousands Protest Demanding Better Safety Standards

on November 26 2012 4:24 AM

A fire broke at a multistory building, housing garment factories in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, Monday, in second such incident in two days, reports said.

Fire started on the third floor of a 12-story building in the suburb of Uttara, around 10 a.m. local time, Reuters has reported quoting police sources.

Police has brought the fire under control, but details about casualties are not known yet. Police said some workers are feared trapped in the roof of the building and rescue operations are on.

"It looks like a huge fire. Our teams have just arrived and are working to douse it," Zakir Hussain, a senior fire official, told AFP.

According to local media reports eight people were injured due to heavy smoke inhaling.

The building houses four different garment factories.

At least, 112 people were killed in a fire that broke out in a high-rise garment manufacturing factory in the outskirts of the city, Saturday. Blaze gutted eight-storied Tazreen Fashion building in the Ashulia industrial area, which supplied for the Hong Kong-based sourcing giant Li & Fung Ltd. The cause of the blaze is yet to be ascertained as the government and police have ordered investigations.

The incidents have heightened the concern over pathetic and dangerous working conditions that exist in Bangladesh’s garment sector.

Garment industry provides jobs directly and indirectly to 40 percent of the work force in the impoverished country. The workers are employed for low wages and are forced to work in inhuman conditions in buildings without proper ventilation and lax safety standards.

Fire accidents are common in the garment industry and workers are demanding better pay and working conditions.

Thousands Protest Demanding Better Safety Measures

Thousands of Bangladeshi workers thronged the streets in Savar industrial zone, protesting against the poor working conditions prevailing in the garment manufacturing industry. Workers from several garment factories boycotted work and joined the protest demanding justice and the protest turned violent on some occasions, the Associated Press has reported.

Workers reportedly threw stones at the factories and smashed the vehicles and blocked highways in the area.

Tazreen Fashions building reportedly lacked fire exits and was overcrowded during the incident.

An estimated 2 million employees work in 4,500 garment factories in Bangladesh, which contributes 80 percent of the country's annual exports.  

 

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