Production at Hameem Group unit suspended at Tejgaon

Staff Correspondent

The government-set review committee on Wednesday asked the authorities of Thats’ It Fashions Ltd, which is housed in a 10-storey building in the Tejgaon area in the capital, to suspend production immediately after the inspection teams of North American retailers’ group had found the factory unsafe.
Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American retailers group, detected serious structural faults in the factory building and on July 7 referred the findings to the review committee comprised of representatives from the government, Accord, Alliance, BUET, BGMEA and BKMEA recommending evacuation from the building.
The review committee experts on Wednesday visited the factory, a concern of Hameem Group, and found that the factor of safety of the building was not adequate as the columns of the buildings were highly overstressed and one of the edge column experienced crack.
The review committee also found differences between the permitted drawings and the current status of the building.
‘We have recommended factory authorities to evacuate the top six floor of the buildings immediately and also asked them to suspend production in ground to 5th floor within 6 weeks,’ Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment, told New Age on Thursday.
He said that the review committee also asked the factory authorities to conduct detail engineering assessment of the factory building within six months.
A review committee source, however, said that the experts suggested removal of all storage and products from the building within October 15.
AK Azad, managing director of Thats’ It Fashions Ltd, said that earlier they had retro fitted the building and was running production as engineers certified the building as safe.
‘Now the experts of the review committee raised questions over the structural safety of the building and we have decided to relocate the factory after Eid-ul-Fitr,’ he said.
Azad said that the construction of own building for the factories have been completed and the production will be shifted there.
Syed, also the chair of the review committee, said that 2,600 workers worked at the factory and already 1,000 workers have been provided with jobs in other factories of the same management.
Quoting the factory authorities he said that 1,600 workers would remain jobless during the relocation period of the factory and latter on all of them would be given jobs in several factories of the company.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24 last year that killed more than 1,100 workers, mostly women garment workers, North American apparel companies, retailers and brands formed Alliance and European Union retailers formed Accord on Fire and Building Safety to improve safety in Bangladeshi RMG factories.
Both the initiative started inspection in over 2,200 garment factories in February this year.
Alliance completed safety assessment of its listed 601 garment factories in Bangladesh and 4 factories were shut as per its recommendations.
Accord has so far inspected over 800 factories of its listed over 1600 factories and 19 factories so far have been closed as per its recommendations.

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