Wednesday, 9 April 2014 | MYT 5:55 PM
More 'risky' Bangladesh garment factories shut
DHAKA, April 09, 2014 (AFP) - Bangladesh authorities have closed four garment factories and partially shut down two others after engineers hired by Western retailers detected major structural flaws in the plants, an official said Wednesday.
The move came amid increased inspections from retailers who are checking 1,500 factories in an effort to prevent a repeat of the disasters that have killed thousands of workers in recent years.
A top government official told AFP that a government panel ordered the closure of four factories in a multi-storied complex in the port city of Chittagong and two floors of separate factories in the capital Dhaka.
"We've found serious structural flaws in the Chittagong building complex. It was too risky. So we have shut down the building," said Syed Ahmed, head of the department of factory inspections.
Ahmed said engineers hired by an umbrella group of more than 150 Western retailers rang the alarm bell about the risks, ordering evacuations pending a review by the government panel.
The factories are the latest to have been shut down after three Dhaka factories were closed under similar circumstances last month, leaving at least 4,000 workers jobless.
Bangladesh is the world's second-biggest clothing manufacturer and the $22 billion (16 billion euros) sector is the mainstay of the impoverished South Asian nation's economy.
But the sector has a woeful safety track record, highlighted by the collapse of the Rana Plaza on April 24 last year on the outskirts of the capital, which killed 1,135 people in Bangladesh's deadliest industrial disaster.