Fire in garment factory, again!
THE casualty this time is ten dead due to a fire in a garments factory in Sreepur. Palmal group, a leading name in the RMG sector with sales worth US$250million annually experienced a breakout of fire in the dyeing section of Asward Composite Mills in late evening of October 8. The fact that fire fighters were quick to contain the fire that engulfed two floors of the factory is a commendable feat.
What is not totally clear is how a compliant factory could not get all its workers out and prevent the death of quite a few workers. Perhaps the fact that a boiler detonating had something to do with it but we will not know for sure until investigators complete their fact finding mission. What is clear is that after the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse, Bangladesh's RMG sector has been under the international spotlight. That, coupled with the ongoing labour unrest over wage hike, has kept the negative press on garments for some time now.
One cannot overlook the point that 170 workers were working on the two floors that were engulfed by flames. Yet, we remain concerned as to why 9 people had to lose their lives. It certainly leaves some questions unanswered as to the fire preparedness in the RMG sector. If this is the situation with a top ranking RMG manufacturer, it certainly explains why factories like Tazreen end up the way they do. At the end of the day, the loss of even one worker to fire is one too many.