Running industries has to be an all round humanitarian activity01 August 2021
Apparently accepting the logic of businesses, the government has decided to allow export-oriented industries and factories to reopen from today (Sunday) amid the ongoing "strict lockdown" enforced to stem the rising trend of Covid-19. The Cabinet Division declared on Friday evening that all export-oriented industries would remain out of the purview of the strict lockdown considering the "overall situation". Earlier, the government had allowed operating only some factories involved in food processing, rawhide handling and pharmaceutical entities.
Media reports on Saturday said that the move to reopen factories amid the lockdown came following the repeated requests from the manufacturers and their representatives, to prevent massive losses that were feared by way of export order cancellation. Apparel manufacturers feared that they might lose their opportunity to turn their loss around due to the closure of the factories because of the Eid holidays and the lockdown as they export about 40 per cent of their products during this peak season of June to August. Leaders of the BGMEA, BKMEA, BTMA and other manufacturers and exporters associations at a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary on Thursday called for keeping their industries out of the purview of the lockdown. The Cabinet Secretary told them that he would brief the Prime Minister on their proposal. Finally, the reopening decision came on Friday evening.
Following the government's sudden announcement, the workers, particularly the apparel workers, have rushed for Dhaka to join their respective factories fearing loss of their jobs. The crowd of Dhaka-bound people was witnessed at different ferry terminals on Saturday morning. As movement of launches, speedboats and trawlers remains shut due to the restrictions, the pressure of passengers has been witnessed on the ferries. As a result, the ferries were teeming with Dhaka-bound passengers, but they were not reportedly following health guidelines. The same thing also happened earlier because of the government's frequent change of decisions, resulting in overcrowding on different traffic routes and the spread of the coronavirus even to remote areas of the country.
The latest rush of workers of export-oriented industries may increase the risks of further spread of the pandemic. But not necessarily if extra care is taken by the owners. We are going through the human crisis of facing death in the face of each other. So running industries must mean taking extra care of the workers.