Bangladesh building collapse toll rises to 328

Dhaka, April 27 (IANS) The toll in the building that collapsed Wednesday in the outskirts of this Bangladesh capital rose to 328 Saturday, media reports said.

Fourteen people were pulled out alive and 13 bodies were recovered from beneath the rubble of the eight-storeyed building Saturday morning, raising the toll to 328, reported the Daily Star.

The building, “Rana Plaza”, collapsed around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and since then rescuers have been trying to extricate those still buried under the debris.

Two of the owners of five ready-made garment factories housed in the collapsed Bangladesh building were arrested early Saturday.

The duo surrendered hours after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a late night meeting Friday with the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association directed tough action against the owners if they didn’t turn themselves in.

“We asked Mahbubur Rahman Tapas and Bazlul Samad Adnan, owners of New Weave Bottoms and New Weave Style, to surrender to us. They turned themselves in,” a Detective Branch official told Xinhua Saturday.

The official said they were looking for the owners of three other factories and the owner of the building.

The building owner Sohel Rana went into hiding shortly after he was rescued from the rubble of the eight-storey building, reported Xinhua.

Bangladesh’s ready-made garment sector announced Friday that all the factories across the country will be shut Saturday and Sunday.

The unruly protests, which flared up first in Savar where the building collapsed, have spread quickly to capital Dhaka and many other apparel hubs where thousands of workers took to the streets and vandalized over 100 vehicles.

Almost all the deaths are from among workers of the five factories — Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms — which make clothing for many major global brands.

The building is owned by a leader of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League party, who reportedly constructed it without permission from relevant authorities, and assured the owners of the factories that there was no problem despite cracks being detected.

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