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Blast behind factory collapse?

By Haroon Habib

DHAKA, APRIL 11. Nearly 200 workers were believed trapped under the rubble of a nine-storey garment factory that collapsed near Dhaka last night. While 15 bodies were retrieved till this afternoon, 75 injured workers were rescued.

The building, packed with night-shift workers, caved in soon after midnight when a boiler exploded, said survivors. But officials and workers believed the building collapsed due to faulty and unauthorised construction. Some survivors said the building collapsed after a loud explosion. "Within two or three minutes, the whole building started to shake violently," said a worker, who was working on the fourth floor with around 90 persons. An official said reaching people had become difficult as the building collapsed in layers.

The garment industry is Bangladesh's biggest export earning sector, accounting for 80 per cent of foreign revenues and employing some 1.8 million lowly-paid workers, mostly women. Poor safety standards frequently result in accidents.

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