Many hosiery factories defy ban, remain open in Narayanganj

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There was no fear of coronavirus pandemic in the factory as lots of work needed to be done

At least 30-35% garment and hosiery factories, mostly small-scale, were found to continue its production in Narayanganj on Monday, defying government’s instruction to keep all factories closed, barring those involved in making personal protection equipment (PPE) and masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Visiting the city’s Nayamati, Ukilpara and other areas, this correspondent found at least 30-35% small-scale garment and hosiery factories open in the vicinity.

Most of these factories have been established amid the narrow alleys in the neighborhoods. The workers there alleged their owners forced them to return to work from Sunday.

Nadia Zaman, a hosiery operator at a factory in Ukilpara, said her owner forced many workers like her to rejoin, as there were many orders to complete in time for Eid-ul-Fitr.

“If any trouble persists, the owner keeps the shutters down for two to four hours, just to show that his factory is closed,” she added.

Md Jahid, a colleague of Nadia’s, said work was intense as Eid was near.

There was no fear of coronavirus pandemic in the factory as lots of work needed to be done, he added.

Meanwhile, workers were seen entering a market adjacent to the Boss cabin on Monday morning at Railway Gate-2 area.

A worker, who did not want to be named time, said their factory was not closed. They were busy with their workload as usual.

Bangladesh Hosiery Association president Nazmul Alam Sajal expressed anger over keeping hosiery and other factories open despite the ban, saying that as per the government’s directive, they ordered closure of every kind of garment factory, hosiery and all other related industries.

“At least 2,075 hosiery factories are registered with our organizations. It has come to our attention that at least 700-750 of those have reopened since Sunday, at least 30-35% out of all the hosiery factories operating in Narayanganj,” he also said.

“But if no one pays heed to the shut down, then there’s nothing more to say. We all need caution in dealing with this pandemic. It is necessary for everyone to perform their duties from their respective places. I am placed under home quarantine myself. We are also in a risk-prone area. I’m not getting out of my house either. Others should follow suit,” he added.

He further said that the intervention of the administration is urgent against those who are still risking the workers, thinking only about business in this situation.

On Sunday, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) identified several clusters for cases of the coronavirus, in Basabo, Tolarbagh and Mirpur in Dhaka; several places in Narayanganj city; and the Madaripur and Gaibandha districts.

In the wake of rising numbers of cases, Narayanganj city Mayor SelinaHayat Ivy, on Sunday, requested that the government impose a curfew or at least lockdown on the area to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.