Workers say they were forced into Rana Plaza

Workers were forcibly brought to work in the various factories in Savar’s Rana Plaza, which collapsed on Wednesday, many of the wounded have alleged.

Selim Ahmedand Sajal
Published : 24 April 2013, 03:45 AM
Updated : 25 April 2013, 08:06 AM

A big crack appeared in the building’s structure on Tuesday, making it extremely unsafe for use.

The building collapsed at around 9am on Wednesday soon after the workers began their work in the factories.

Death toll in the collapse of the nine-storied building has gone up to 80. More than 800 are said to have been injured.

Numerous others are missing under the rubbles, as rescue operation continues.

Rana Plaza had readymade garment factories on four floors.

Aklima, a garment worker was being treated in the Enam Medical College Hospital and was working in Phantom Tak Limited located on the fifth floor of the building.

She said, “I did not want to go to the factory since a crack appeared yesterday (Tuesday). But the factory’s officers forced us into the building in the morning.”

Aklima said she has lost her younger sister Soudia, who died after being trapped under the debris.

Nurul Islam another worker said, “None of us wanted to go in. The bosses came after us with beating sticks. At the end we were forced to get in.”

He said he heard a terrible noise at around 9am and the building collapsed right after that.

He said more than 200 people were working on the fifth floor.

Nazma Akhtar a worker from Phantom Tak factory was still missing two hours after the collapse. Her husband ‘Rana’ was seen in tears in front of the Enam Medical College Hospital, where the injured and the dead were being brought.

Their house is near the factory he said. His wife left home in the morning to go to work.

“I came running as soon as I heard. But I still don’t know where she is.”

Meanwhile, the doctors at the Enam Medical College Hospital are struggling to provide attention to all the injured.

Medical students are also working to provide care to the patients along with the interns and the residents.

Asir Iqbal a second year student of the medical college said, “We can’t provide room for the injured. So we are releasing most of them after giving then primary care.”

A team of 25 instructors from Dhaka’s National Orthopedic Hospital and Rehabilitation Institution (Pangu Hospital) has been treating the injured at Enam Hospital.

Professor Abdul Gani a member of that team said they brought two ambulances with them. Those in serious conditions are being sent to Dhaka.

The Industrial Police on Tuesday had instructed the garment owners to keep their factories closed after a big crack appeared in the building. They wanted to bring in an engineer from BUET to decide if the structure was safe for use, Mustafizur Rahman, Director for Industrial Police told reporters at the site of the collapse.

The buildings first and second storey had electronic, computer, cosmetic and cloth stores. Rana Plaza also housed a branch of the BRAC bank.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher