Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

“I still believe that my factory will be able to rise from its ashes???

Untitled-2The dream was reduced to ashes along with the Standard Group apparel factory on November 29.

“We two friends started our apparel business in 1984 and wanted to expand it,??? said Mosharraf Hussain, managing director of Standard Group, in an interview with the Dhaka Tribune.

The 10-storey apparel factory building in Gazipur on the outskirts of Dhaka City was deliberately set ablaze by a group of garment workers.

The fire gutted machinery, fabrics and raw materials housed in more than 8.5 lakh square feet of floor space in the building, and also destroyed garments loaded into 27 trucks.

Losses from the fire were estimated at Tk12bn.

“The incident has left me perplexed,??? said Mosharraf, an engineer.

The Standard Group had 95% of its workforce from his ancestral home district of Sirajganj. During recent labour unrest, workers of the company never joined in any of the demonstrations and production was not hampered. “My factory workers were forced and intimidated to stage a demonstration,??? said the MD, who categorically denied that he had any foe in the locality. Mentioning that the government on December 2 formed a nine-member investigation committee to find out the reasons behind the fire, he said the culprits involved in the planned sabotage should receive exemplary punishment.

The two friends – Mosharraf and Atiqur Rahman – established a construction-based company in 1969 after graduating from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. That was the beginning of the Standard Group, and since then they have never looked back. The company has earned many awards and recognition at national levels.

In the mid-80s when the garment industry revolution was emerging, the two dreamed big to expand their business and create employment opportunities for the distressed population.

“I am from an area of river erosion. I have seen many of my neighbours and relatives lose their land to rivers,??? he said, recalling the hard days. They passed days and nights half-fed and sometimes unfed after losing everything in the river, added Mosharraf.

“This made me think of doing something for them and primarily I helped them by giving money but they failed to use it properly,??? he said. “Then the idea to set up an apparel factory came and I thought this could help arrange a livelihood for many at a time.???

In 1984, he engaged in the readymade garment business with an initial investment of Tk2bn at  the city’s Kalabagan, employing over 1,500 workers – around 90% of whom were his neighbours and relatives.

The time when he started the apparel business was the blooming era for the neo-industrial revolution in Bangladesh after the jute industry. Today Standard Group stands as one of the leading garment manufacturers in Bangladesh.

The company currently exports RMG products worth $300bn and employs more than 55,000 workers.

t is now planning to rehabilitate workers by engaging them in double shifts in the factory.

Mosharraf has appealed to Bangladesh Bank to waive the interest of credit he took from various commercial banks and give an opportunity to pay loans in instalments within his capacity.

He also appeals to buyers to continue the business relation with him as the company will try to supply products as per their demand maintaining the best quality.

“I still believe that my factory will be able to rise from its ashes,??? said Mosharraf.

The apparel company supplies to the world’s biggest apparel retailers, including GAP, ZARA, Tommy Hilfiger, Sears, American Eagle Outfitters, Kohl’s and Gymboree.

-Kayes Sohel, Ibrahim Hossain Ovi


Share This Post