The 18-party opposition alliance has called off its countrywide general strike hours before it was scheduled to end to facilitate rescue work in Savar where a multi-storied building collapsed on Wednesday morning.
Party Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Advisor Shamsuzzaman made the announcement at an emergency press briefing at around 3:30pm on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Standing Committee Member MK Anwar had announced to withdraw the strike in Dhaka for the same reason.
At least 80 people were killed as the multi-storey Rana Plaza caved in early morning.
The BNP chief had earlier announced to relax the shutdown in Savar and asked her party activists to join the rescue efforts.
The opposition had enforced the 36-hour shutdown demanding release of its detained top leaders.
Locals and witnesses said over 800 injured had also been hospitalised
The opposition party has demanded proper probe into the collapse.
Anwar alleged the building’s owner, Savar municipality unit Juba League Senior Joint Convenor Masud Rana, had the building constructed on government land by exercising ‘illegal powers’ without caring for permissions.
He demanded proper probe of the incident and punishment to the responsible. The BNP leader also urged the government to provide compensation to the victims.
Asked about the delay, he said they took the decision after consulting other coalition members.
Work in the ill-fated building was suspended on Tuesday when a crack was detected on the building’s wall. Local administrative officials had visited the building and said it needed to be examined by structural experts from the BUET for safety.
Engineer Abdur Razzak had forewarned of a possible collapse.
Building owner Rana had, however, told bdnews24.com on the day that the cracks were not serious.
Fire-fighters, four teams of army, police, RAB and locals have joined the rescue operation.
Several BNP leaders including Hannan Shah and Sadeque Hossain Khoka visited the disaster-hit factory and went to the nearby Enam Medical College where many of the injured are being treated.
They said the incident was caused due to 'criminal negligence' and demanded the responsible be brought to justice. The BNP leaders said the administration must take responsibility for the disaster.
Both Hannan Shah and Khoka appreciated the students and doctors of the hospital for carrying out their duties.