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Mumbai Textile Factory Collapses; Two Workers Dead

A textile manufacturing unit housed within an industrial compound in Mumbai collapsed on March 16, killing two factory workers.

The two male victims–aged twenty and twenty-five–were migrant laborers and were sleeping when the unit collapsed at 5 a.m. An initial on-site investigation indicated that structural rods within the unit experienced significant erosion over time, gradually weakening their physical integrity. Saki Naka’s Azmi Compound manufactures and packages both clothing and textiles.

The assistant municipal commissioner, Harshad Kale, said, “The victims were asleep when the loft crashed, probably because it couldn’t bear the weight of the boxes of textiles. The structure was over 10 years old and we will have to check whether the loft was authorised or not.”

It remains unclear if the factory itself was in full compliance regarding building safety. One official said, “We will check our records. If we find any illegal construction we will file a case against the landlord.”

A rising power in the textile and apparel manufacturing industry, India has made aggressive efforts to combine an emphasis on social compliance with social and economic remediation. To this end, factory owners created the Development Initiative for Self-reliance and Human Advancement (DISHA), an agency that describes itself as a “secular, social, apolitical, non-profit and a non-government organization.” Inaugurated in 2004 as a public, charitable trust, the organization helps promote and oversee social compliance, particularly among textile and garment factories in India. It is also charged with an unusually expansive laundry list of other diverse responsibilities including economic inequality, education, discrimination and the alleviation of poverty.

Another worker was injured in the accident and is currently being treated in a local hospital. Local officials have already ordered the factory owner to demolish what remains of the structure.