The government-set review committee has recently declared unsafe nine factories including eight readymade garment units housed in three buildings in Chattogram city and asked their authorities to suspend operation immediately.
The readymade garment factories are Angela Fashion Ltd at Agrabad, Sea Shore Apparels Ltd, Madina Enterprise, Inter Care Ltd and Link Wear housed in CDA residential building and Gold Star, Gold Mark Ltd and Pentagon Apparels housed in Manik Market at Asadganj.
According to the Department of inspection for Factories and Establishments, the factories were inspected under the government-led ILO supported initiative following the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people mostly garment workers.
Sources said that inspectors found that new cracks were developed in the factory buildings as the building authorities were not remediated the safety risks which were found during the initial inspection.
The DIFE officials said that the first inspection in Angela Fashion was conducted in 2014 and found critical safety hazards in building.
The department conducted follow-up inspection in the factory on March 12 and found that the faults remained unaddressed and new cracks developed in the building.
The DIFE on March 13 sent a letter to the Angela Fashion directing authorities to suspend production in the unit due to safety reason.
During the inspection, the engineers of Remediation Coordination Cell under DIFE also found serious structural faults in two other buildings where seven RMG factories housed.
The findings of the engineers were placed in the meeting of review panel comprising representatives from the government, EU Accord, North American Alliance, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Monday.
The committee decided to shut the operations of the factories housed in the buildings and sent letter to the factory authorities not to use the risky buildings.
The review panel was formed after Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 to decide on the closure of any garment factory if found risky or non-compliant during safety inspection.
The DIFE inspector general Shib Nath Roy on Thursday told New Age that the review committee decided to shut the factories due to safety reason and asked the factory authorities to comply with the decision of the committee.
One of the officials of the DIFE said that only Angela Fashions has suspended its production after receiving the letter from DIFE while seven other factories are still in operation.
‘There are some legal complexities in shutting the factories as the DIFE had filed cases against the factories due to the violation of the closure notice issued by the department and the issue remained sub judies,’ he said.
He said that the DIFE would place the decision of review committee before the court seeking immediate direction of closure of the factories as the buildings are critically unsafe.
Following the Rana Plaza building collapse, three separate platforms, EU-based buyers’ consortium Accord, North American Alliance and national initiative, launched inspection in RMG factories.
During the assessment a total of 150 factories have been referred to the review panel and of which 39 were closed, 42 were partially closed and 69 factories were allowed to operate with some correction, the DIFE said.