The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) is being unable to function properly due to lack of manpower shortage, said sources in DIFE.
The DIFE under the Ministry of Labour and Employment is responsible for ensuring welfare, safety and health of workers involved in factories and establishments by enforcing labour laws.The DIFE has only 993 officials and employees to deal with so many workers in RMGsectors, plus other industrial sectors.
So, the welfare, safety and health issues of the people relating to the sectors remain unchecked.
The section no. 7 of Bangladesh Labour Act-2006 says a factory or establishment is a house or yard in which five or more workers work.
A report of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics published in 2001 stated that the number of manufacturing units in the country at that time was 2,42,818 and the number of shops, hotels, construction companies and commercial health service centres was 20,15,117.
As per the Economic Census in 2013, there were about 80 lakh economic units across the country.
The number of factories and establishments in 42 sectors has definitely increased manifolds by this time.Mehedi Hasan, deputy inspector general of DIFE, says only 34,000 factories and establishments received registrations from the department while the rest areoperating without registration.
The DIFE cannot take action against the unregistered factories and establishments due to shortage of manpower, a DIFE officer said, asking not to be named.
According to DIFE data,some 32,924 factories and establishments are suspected. Of them, 2,177 are RMG factories, 7,200 shops and 3,598 establishments.
In 2017-18 FY, it inspected 42,639 factories, shops and establishments while it inspected 43,100 in 2018-19.
The department received 1,901 allegations in 2016, but it could dispose of only 564 allegations which is 49 percent. In 2017, it got 2,213 complaints, but could dispose of 1,623 while it received 2,432 allegations in 2018, but disposed of 2,232.
The data suggest that the department could not dispose of all the allegations brought by workers against the owners and others.
Sources said that if the department had many more manpower, it could inspect many more factories and establishments.
And the rights of workers could be achieved.
ShibNath Roy, inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), admitted the fact.
He described that they have so far 993 officials and employees.
He said they had already submitted a new organogram to the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The new organogram comprises 3,750 officials and employees. Of them, 700 are engineers.
ShibNath Roy hopes that if the number of manpower is approved and appointed, they will be able to inspect all the factories and establishments, which will ensure the rights of workers.
Besides, an Industrial Safety Unit will be set up within the next two years for the welfare of the workers.