It seems that Bangladesh&’s Ready–Made Garments (RMG) industry will never be out of the limelight. This time our notice has been drawn to a report in a leading Bangla newspaper which reveals that for nearly 28 thousand garment factories in the country there are only 39 factory inspectors. One wonders whether it can get any worse or any more ludicrous.
Given the figures of the available inspectors, if they were to carry out inspections daily of one factory each, it would take nearly four years to complete one round of inspections. To make matters worse, statistics of 2001 show that there were more than 200 thousand unauthorised garment factories then. And no one is sure after a decade whether that figure has increased or gone down.
The situation makes a mockery of the system given that we have lost several thousand workers in RMG factory accidents, with the intensity of disasters on the increasing trend in recent times. And all the tragedies have been due to faulty designs and lax safety and security measures.
While a proposed organogram of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment is under consideration of the government we fail to understand why the deficit manpower under the current approved structure is not being made up. If the government really wants to ensure the safety of garment workers it must address the lacunae immediately. Not only should the Department&’s manpower be enhanced it must also have its own transports to allow it random and surprise visits to factories.
The Daily Star/ ann