04/30/2013, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Rana Plaza, foreign firms Primark and Loblaw to compensate victims families

by Nozrul Islam
The two multi-nationals admit their responsibility after the collapse of the building and call on other western chains involved to do the same. Meanwhile, the police arrested Mohammed Sohel Rana, owner of the building: he is accused of negligence, threats to employees and building permit violations. Rana Plaza was built on a former bog.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Two western companies will pay compensation to the families of the 385 victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.  The eight-storey building collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital on 24 April. The companies are Primark, a well-known low-cost clothing retailer in the UK and Ireland, and Loblaw, the largest supermarket chain in Canada, whose Joe Fresh clothing line were produced in the factories housed in the building. Meanwhile, yesterday, the police arrested Mohammed Sohel Rana, owner of the building, who is accused of neglect, abuse and threats against workers building Rana Plaza.

Julija Hunter, Loblaw spokesman, said today that the company will lend its support "in the best way possible," and that families will "receive assistance now and in the future." The company has announced plans to change course, to prevent a repeat accidents such as Rana Plaza.

Primark is on the same wavelength, which in a press release admitted it was "fully aware of our responsibility. We urge other retailers that were sourced from establishments in Rana Plaza to offer their assistance."

In the next 15 days Mohammed Sohel Rana will be questioned to clarify his  position regarding the collapse of the building. The man, aged 30, is an entrepreneur who "grew up" in the youth section of the Awami League (AL), ruling party. At 20 he started a small business of production of oil on a piece of land belonging to his father, who was also arrested yesterday. Thanks to their contacts with the AL - that is very powerful in the area - they were able to buy the adjacent land: a quickly drained pond on which Rana Plaza was built. The building permit was for a five-story building, to which the owner illegally added another three floors.

 

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