“The building will last for another hundred years …” was claimed by an engineer brought by Mr. Soheil Rana, the owner of the Rana Plaza building which collapsed on 24 April 2013, killing and terminally injuring scores of workers. Although the accused engineer is yet to be behind bars, rather the engineer who warned “Jugantor” (a Bangla Daily) that the building was “risky” has been caught by the Police on 3rd May 2013 following a nationwide drive to bring the people involved with the collapse behind bars to quell an agitated and horrified nation.
The arrest came as the initial probe report of an inquiry committee formed by the government came gave a press briefing saying that the collapse was triggered by the vibration created by four huge generators set up on each of the top floors where garment factories were located, violating building codes and relevant rules for structural safety. When these generators were started after a power cut they created vibration, and together with the vibration of thousands of sewing machines, they triggered the Rana Plaza collapse. Within five minutes the building caved in and sandwiched into one floor like a pack of cards
During the inquiry, the investigators also found that substandard materials were used during the construction also contributed to the building collapse.
It must be added that the land was grabbed by Mr. Soheil Rana from its real owner by unlawful means, using political muscle. Although he did not take permission from the City Development authority (RAJUK), we took permission from the local Municipality and started construction without any supervision from the correct body – which is RAJUK. He build a commercial building, which was not at all suitable for a factory. Later, the building with faulty piling for a 5 story was expanded to 9 stories, with 5 factories registered under the BGMEA was set up under three Groups “Phantom”, “New Wave” and “Ether”. The building owner and the factory owners are now behind bars, however, previously no factory owner have been punished for disasters (refer to the Tazreen Tragedy and the Spectrum Tragedy) where too scores of workers have been killed.
The death toll is above 550 now, with thousands having been terminally injured and amputated and more than a thousand missing. There have been pressure from other political parties to ensure the correct number of dead and injured for proper compensation plans to be implemented and so that the dead and properly identified and named – something which relates to a matter of human dignity and value.
The final probe report will be released after the ongoing rescue attempts have been completed.
The Rise Society.