This culture of negligence and impunity granted to the powerful results in our workers being put in grave danger
It is shocking to learn that there were no smoke detectors, fire alarms, or emergency exits anywhere in the six-story Hashem Foods factory building, where earlier this year on July 8, a horrifying fire broke out which saw at least 52 lives lost.
It is no wonder then, that as per a complete investigation spanning 30 working days by the Nagarik Tadanta Committee (Citizens’ Investigation Committee) -- comprising of 19 eminent citizens of Bangladesh -- they have concluded that the Hashem Foods factory fire was not a mere accident but “murder caused by negligence.”
This newspaper has editorialized numerous times on the sheer negligence and disregard displayed by those in charge, and has repeatedly urged the authorities concerned to take the necessary actions against those responsible for such catastrophic negligence. This investigation sheds further light, and makes it that much more important to hold these powerful factory owners accountable for their unscrupulous practices.
While kudos must be given to those who took it upon themselves to probe deeper into this matter, it is disappointing to learn that, as per the report, the Department of Labour, the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), and the Fire Service and Civil Defense have also been negligent in carrying out their responsibilities.
This is a dangerously shoddy state of affairs which does not befit a country looking to establish itself as a serious, functional economy, and there is much work that needs to be done for us to break out of this cycle. Ultimately, this culture of negligence and impunity granted to the powerful results in our workers being put in grave danger at all times, never knowing when a day at work could be their last.