450 factory workers sick
Around 450 workers at a garment factory in Bhogra of Gazipur were hospitalised with acute stomach condition, barely two hours after they started their morning shift yesterday.
District Civil Surgeon Syed Habibullah suspected that the workers might have fallen sick after drinking impure water from faulty water supply pipe of Starlight Sweaters Factory.
Most of the sick were either vomiting or feeling nausea while others complained of stomach upset and loose motions.
As the news of their illness spread, panic swept through workers in hundreds of garment factories in the area.
Many left their workplaces and rushed to Starlight Sweaters to assist the sick workers.
Mustafizur Rahman, additional superintendent of police in Gazipur, suspected foul play in the incident.
“I suspect that someone mixed poisonous substance with water in the overhead water tank (of the factory),” he said.
Civil Surgeon Habibullah said around 183 workers received treatment at Gazipur Sadar Hospital while 261 workers at Tongi Hospital.
He also heard that around 300 to 400 workers took medical assistance from Tairunnesa Medical College and a private clinic in the capital's Uttara.
More than 6,000 workers are employed in the factory owned by Labib Group.
Quoting the factory owner, Mosharraf Hossain, ASP of Gazipur Industrial Police, said the number of sick workers might be around 400.
“The garment authorities sent the sick to Gazipur Sadar Hospital, Tongi Hospital and other local private clinics after they started vomiting,” said Mohammad Selim, sub-inspector of industrial police.
To find out the real cause of sickness and exact number of ill workers, a committee-led by some doctors had been formed, the civil surgeon said, adding the committee had already started its investigation.
Deputy Commissioner of Gazipur Nurul Islam said the conditions of the hospitalised workers were gradually improving.