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Bangladesh: BGMEA to Build Apparel Zone in Chittagong

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Chittagong, Bangladesh’s coastal port city, could soon see a new apparel zone where non-compliant ready made garment factories will be able to relocate to safer facilities.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has partnered with the Chittagong City Corporation to establish the zone in the Kalurghat area, according to the Dhaka Tribune.

A major goal of the initiative is to aid factory owners with relocation efforts in keeping with compliance requirements. Factory safety assessments conducted by the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety uncovered units in need of relocation due to of subpar standards.

“The Chittagong Apparel Zone will be established in line with the safety standards prescribed by the global retailers and National Action Plan,” BGMEA vice president Mohammed Nasir told the Dhaka Tribune.

The proposed zone is expected to have 11 seven-story buildings with 20,000 square feet on each floor, which would allow as many as 35 factory owners to relocate their facilities, according to the Tribune. The zone will be developed on 10 acres of land and include an effluent treatment plant, a fire station, a hospital, a childcare center and an ambulance for workers.

Factories with the worst safety assessment reports will have priority in gaining a position in the zone as they have been deemed most in need of relocation.

Eligible factory owners will have to pay 10 percent of total construction costs as a down payment and their position in the building will be valid for up to 40 years. The cost to rent the space will be 10 taka ($0.13) per square foot, which will go up by 5 percent every five years. Fifty percent of the rent will be adjusted from the payment of construction, the Tribune noted.

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