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ED: What have we learned from Rana Plaza?

  • Published at 08:13 pm April 23rd, 2021
Rana Plaza_Zakir
File photo: Work in progress to rescue the people trapped inside the debris of the collapsed Rana Plaza building on April 24, 2013 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Such problems still persist

Eight years ago, on April 24, 2013, the nation stood in shocked silence as Rana Plaza collapsed, claiming the lives of 1,134 people and injuring thousands more. 

It is a day that we have not been able to forget, and indeed it is one that we never should. The collapse of Rana Plaza was a tragedy that highlights what we have been at our worst -- allowing negligence, apathy, and corruption to govern our lives, leading to what was one of the deadliest industrial disasters in modern history. 

It stood as a wake-up call not only for the RMG industry, which has been the primary driving force behind our massive economic progress in the last decade, but for Bangladesh as a whole, as it became abundantly clear that some unscrupulous businessmen were willing to prioritize profits over people, even if it meant catastrophic loss of life. 

Such problems still persist. We have been hit by several tragedies which have showcased this exact same attitude, neglecting safety concerns in construction in an effort to save a quick buck, or simply because the lives of the people inside were deemed to be not worthy. 

But it must also be acknowledged that, since then, we as a nation have made great strides in ensuring compliance as well, with the current RMG industry having become a tremendous success story, with factories adhering to some of the highest levels of safety protocol and the industry boasting the highest number of green factories as well. 

The best way to honour the thousands of lives destroyed by the Rana Plaza collapse would be to remember them in the actions we take now. By learning from the mistakes of our past, we can hold ourselves to a higher standard -- one which understands that economic progress means little in a nation that has yet to learn how to value the lives of its citizens.

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