Bangladesh garment industry

Effects of building collapse not really serious, Bangladesh minister says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 May, 2013, 2:59am

Bangladesh's finance minister yesterday played down the impact of last week's factory-building collapse on the garment industry, saying it wasn't "really serious" - hours after the 500th body was pulled from the debris.

This came as a top investigator probing the disaster blamed vibrations from four illegal generators for the collapse.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit, during a visit to the Indian capital, New Delhi, said the disaster would not harm Bangladesh's garment industry.

"The present difficulties ... well, I don't think it is really serious - it's an accident," he said.

Asked if he was worried that foreign retailers might pull orders from his country, Muhit said he wasn't. "These are individual cases of ... accidents. It happens everywhere."

The preliminary findings of the government probe, as described by lead investigator Main Uddin Khandaker, gave the clearest explanation yet for the catastrophic structural failure.

"Four huge generators were set up on each of the top floors where garment factories were located, violating rules," Khandaker, a senior home ministry official, said. "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 collapse."