At least 80 people were killed and more than 800 others injured when the nine-storied building collapsed earlier in the day.
“The industrial police had asked the owners of the factories to suspend operations after cracks were noticed yesterday (Tuesday) in Rana Plaza. We had asked them to operate the factories only after a structural inspection by BUET engineers,” Rahman told journalists.
“But the factories owners ignored our directives and decided to reopen their units on Wednesday,” he said.
In the past also owners have been blamed for pushing workers to danger in garment factories.
The ground and first floors of the plaza had shops selling electronic goods, computers, perfumes and garments, and also housed a branch of the Brac Bank.
On the second floor was New Wave Bottoms Limited, Phantom Apparels Ltd on the third floor, Phantom Tack Ltd was located on the fourth floor and Ethar Textile Ltd on the fifth.
Police and locals said around 6,000 workers used to work in these factories.
Relatives of the workers who rushed to the disaster site were also blaming owners of the building as well as the factories for the tragedy.
Many injured workers also alleged the owners had forced them to join work on Wednesday.
“None of us wanted to enter the building. Our bosses forced us,” Nurul Islam, an injured worker being treated at the Enam Medical College Hospital said.
Rahman said many more were trapped under the debris. “A committee will be formed to find out who were responsible for the tragedy.”
Earlier in the day, chief of Standing Committee on the Labour Ministry Md Israfil Alam urged everyone to focus on rescue efforts. “Right now, we should concentrate on rescue work without indulging in blame game,” he said.
He, however, assured that those responsible for the collapse would be brought to book.
Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir also visited the spot and assured legal action against those responsible for the tragedy.
Local administration officials had also visited the building on Tuesday after the cracks were noticed.
Engineer Abdur Razzak had said the building needed to be examined by structural experts from the BUET for safety. He had also forewarned of a possible collapse.
The building’s owner, who is also the joint convenor of Savar municipal unit Juba League, youth wing of the Awami League, Md Sohel Rana had 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.