STUDY ON RMG FACTORY ACCIDENTS

Over 200 workers missing in 9yrs

Staff Correspondent

At least 200 apparel workers remained missing in different factory accidents that took place between 2005 and 2013.
The Activist Anthropologist, a group of researchers working since the 2012 fire in Tazreen Fashions, came up with the findings on Thursday at a roundtable titled ‘No grave to grieve: the search for missing garment workers and the challenges of DNA technology in Bangladesh.’
Saydia Gulrukkh, a member of the group, presented the keynote paper, based on news clippings and field surveys, at the roundtable at the Daily Star Centre in Dhaka.
The group assessed that more than 200 apparel workers had been missing in building collapses and fire incidents since April 2005, when the nine-storey Spectrum Sweater factory building collapsed.
The researchers considered the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013 as the last incident in the study.
The government, however, has denied apparel workers remaining missing in the incidents, study observed.
Saydia in the paper said that there was no specific authority with which families could lodge complaints of workers going missing.
Helpless families of workers who went missing visited different government and private authorities dealing with the apparel sector but they failed to trace their relatives, she said.
The government introduced DNA profiling to identify the bodies disfigured beyond recognition after the Tazreen fire in 2012.
The government could identify 250 such bodies and handed them over them to families after the Tazreen fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013.
But the study observed that weak and inefficient infrastructure for disaster management often obstructed the implementation of the DNA technology in identifying disfigured bodies.
The study recommended that the government should set up a missing workers’ cell for their identification and payment of compensation.
The National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory head, Sharif Akhtaruzzaman, rights activist Anu Muhammad, Khushi Kabir, Hamida Hossain and M Tanzimuddin Khan, Spectrum Sweater collapse rescue operation chief coordinator Nizam Uddin and Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies executive director Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmmed also attended the roundtable.

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