Case lodged over Bangladesh building collapse

Anti-graft commission accuses 17 people of violations over the 2013 garment factory collapse that killed 1,130 people.

    Case lodged over Bangladesh building collapse
    The collapse of Rana Plaza ranks among the world's worst industrial accidents [File-AP]

    Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has filed a case with local police accusing 17 people of breaching regulations over the construction of a building that collapsed last year, killing nearly 1,130 mostly garment workers, officials have said.

    The April 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza, built on swampy ground outside Dhaka, ranks among the world's worst industrial accidents and sparked a global outcry for improved safety standards in the world's second-largest exporter of ready-made garments.

    "Our investigation found, they grossly breached the building code," commission spokesman Pranab Kumar Bhattachajee said on Sunday.

    The accused include the parents of Mohammad Sohel Rana - the individual previously cited as the owner of Rana Plaza - as well as a local mayor, engineers and three owners of garment factories that used the building, the ACC officials said.

    They do not include Rana himself, who was arrested after a four-day hunt shortly after the building collapsed, apparently trying to flee across the border to India.

    RELATED: Recounting horror of Rana Plaza

    Bhattachajee said Rana's name did not appear in documents covering ownership of the land and design approval, which instead listed his parents as owners.

    Municipal authorities gave permission for extra floors in the building, but they had no such authority, he added.

    The ACC will now appoint an official to conduct a further investigation that may result in a charge sheet being filed to a court, according to the Reuters news agency.

    Cheap labour

    Low labour costs and, critics say, shortcuts on safety, make Bangladesh the cheapest place to make large quantities of clothing.

    Companies are split over how to improve conditions.

    Big European firms signed an accord that would make them legally responsible for safety while US groups such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc have broken ties with non-compliant factories.

    Late last year, the government raised the minimum wage for garment workers by 77 percent to $68 and amended its labour law to boost worker rights, including the freedom to form trade unions.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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