The High Court on Tuesday imposed a six-month ban on activities of Nirapon, a local entity that was formed with backing of 23 North American apparel brands and retailers, replacing the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
Nirapon has been overseeing the building safety, inspection and remediation of garment factories in Bangladesh in recent months after the North American retailers’ group Alliance left in December last year.
A HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman issued the order banning Nirapon for six months following a writ petition filed by Dragon Sweater and Spinning Limited.
The court also asked Nirapon to explain within two weeks why it should not be ordered to join the RMG Sustainability Council, Imtiaz Moinul Islam, who represented Dragon Sweater and Spinning Limited, told New Age.
He said that they filed the write petition against Nirapon so that it would come under a common platform, the RMG Sustainability Council, for garment factory remediation works.
European retailers’ group Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the Alliance, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, brands, buyers and trade unions on September 3 agreed to form the RSC by November 15 to ensure safety in Bangladesh garment factories.
Earlier, at a views exchange meeting of BGMEA on September 29, apparel markers raised concern over the activities of Nirapon alleging that it had been creating confusion over safety standards and adding new cost burden in the name of monitoring and training.
They also alleged that Nirapon was creating market for service providers, especially for local training providers and qualified assessment firms, which the manufacturers could not afford after investing huge amount of money in the industry to ensure workplace safety in last five years.
Nirapon has been formed this year by 23 brands and retailers, including Walmart, based in North America.
The majority of the Nirapon members were the signatory of the Alliance that folded its operations last December.
The Alliance inspected fire, electrical and structural integrity of some 700 garment factories and remediated the flaws in last five years after the Rana Plaza building collapse.
Almost all the meeting participants expressed concern over the high cost (ranging from $4,000 to $12,000) they would have to bear to maintain Nirapon’s prescriptions.
The factory owners at the meeting also alleged that Nirapon was implementing the same training module the Alliance developed.
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