The BGMEA’s initiative for a garment village should have been started years ago, but it’s good to see them finally take it up, in light of the horrendous tragedy at Savar.
There are many reasons why the village project will be advantageous to both owners and workers. Rural land is far cheaper than the expensive high-rises in Dhaka. The structures and factories in the village can be built according to regulations from the ground up, thereby ensuring workplace safety for all. Also, it would be easier to expand the villages, so that employees wouldn’t have to work in cramped spaces, unlike in Dhaka city where there is no scope to build new buildings, much less add space.
As long as the government ensures that facilities such as water, electricity, and gas are made available, the village in Munshiganj will run successfully, and should even be the start of more garment villages to be built nationwide.
The BGMEA is doing a fine thing, but the government should take up the task of building on it on a larger scale. Such an initiative would solve many of the problems in Dhaka, including overpopulation, traffic, etc, and ease the burdens it faces.
Let us use this tragedy as a springboard for a large-scale garment village project throughout Bangladesh. In fact, let us remove the garment industries from Dhaka and its environs altogether – out of the high-rises, which were not built to handle the stress of running factories, and into less developed areas where they can be engines of economic growth.