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Factory had six illegal storeys

Police arrests “saboteurs” of new blaze

Gulf News

Dhaka: The builders of the nine-storey Tazrin Fashion factory in which 112 workers died in Bangladesh’s worst textile industry fire had only been granted permission for a three-floor construction, an official said on Monday.

“We gave them permission to build a three-storey factory. But they expanded the building without any approval from us,” Habibul Islam, the government’s chief inspector of factories, said.

Bangladeshi law does not allow expansion of any factory without approval by the Office of the Chief Inspector of Factories.

“We had tough laws to tackle this kind of gross violation,” said a senior official of the inspection office, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But in recent years intense pressures from the owners meant the laws were tamed.”

Islam’s comments came as police yesterday arrested a junior official and a female worker from a garments factory for attempting to set on fire another garments factory while fire ravaged the premises of Tazrin Fashion.

“We arrested both of them. They tried to set ablaze the Debonair Factory near Tazrin Fashion at Ashulia area,” a police official told PTI.

Dhaka district police superintendent Habibur Rahman said garment worker Sumi Begum, 24, and her floor-in-charge Zakir Hussain were arrested after tracking CCTV footage at the factory, which showed Sumi setting ablaze stockpiled cotton.

Rahman said fellow factory workers and officials immediately doused the blaze.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Dhaka ordered Hussain to be remanded in custody for four days and sent Sumi to jail.

– With inputs from Anisur Rahman