BB honours rescuers in Rana Plaza tragedy
Bangladesh Bank yesterday honoured 150 rescuers of Rana Plaza victims for their heroic contribution to the rescue of 2,438 workers from the debris.
The collapse of Rana Plaza, which housed five apparel factories, was the country's worst industrial disaster that struck the garment sector on April 24, killing 1,132 workers, mostly women.
"People from all walks of life came together to rescue victims, as seen during the Liberation War of 1971,” said Atiur Rahman, governor of Bangladesh Bank, talking of the rescue efforts by one and all.
“We organised the function to honour rescuers for their contribution toward humanity.”
The BB gave certificates and prize bonds of Tk 5,000 to each rescuer, at a reception for them at the central bank's training academy in Mirpur.
The governor asked managing directors of commercial banks to create jobs for rescuers, based on merit.
The banks have donated Tk 90 crore to the Prime Minister's Relief and Welfare Fund for the victims, he said.
“The banks played a due role in a crisis period,” Rahman said. “I expect commercial banks will take more efforts to help garment workers."
The central bank asked all banks to open accounts for apparel workers with an initial balance of Tk 100.
“We are trying our best to develop the apparel sector, as it is the main driver of the economy,” Rahman said.
The central bank also created a fund of Tk 100 crore with the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency to improve safety standards in the sector, he said.
Factory owners will receive the loan from commercial banks at a maximum of 10 percent interest for rebuilding and relocating factories and equipment purchase.
The central bank asked commercial banks to spend 5 percent of its operating profit on corporate social responsibility, he said. “Now they are spending 6 percent.”
“I hope it will increase in future.”
Rahman also praised the leadership of the army in the rescue operations.
Major General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy, commanding officer of the ninth infantry division of Bangladesh Army, concurred with the governor saying rescuers' role reminded the nation of Liberation War.
Sarwardy who oversaw the rescue operation in Savar said banks should create jobs for the rescuers who are unemployed, and that garment owners should pay proper compensations to workers.
He also expressed condolence over the death of Mohammad Ezazuddin Kaikobad, who suffered burn injuries while trying to rescue trapped garment workers on April 28.