The commission investigating the building collapse that left 1,127 dead and more than 2,400 others hurt urged the Bangladeshi government to pursue homicide charges against the owners of the structure and of the five textile factories operating there, an official told Efe Thursday.
The worst industrial disaster in the history of the South Asian nation was due to poor construction and the use of "extremely poor quality" materials, according to the panel's 400-page report on the April 24 tragedy.
"All of the country's construction norms were violated," the Interior Ministry official who led the probe, Uddin Khandaker, told Efe.
The Rana Plaza was built on swampland in Savar, just outside the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
Though planned as a shopping center, the building was instead used to house five textile factories, complete with heavy machinery and electrical generators whose vibrations weakened the structure of Rana Plaza, Khandaker said.
And while the construction permit was for a six-story structure, building owner Sohel Rana extended the height to eight stories and was in the process of adding a ninth at the time of the accident.
The operators of the textile factories also compelled their employees to work on April 24 a day after cracks were detected in the building, Khandaker said.
Rana and the factory owners are in custody. If convicted of homicide, they could be sentenced to life in prison.
The catastrophe has sparked widespread protests and shone a fresh spotlight on poor working and safety conditions at Bangladeshi textile factories that supply Western multinational corporations.
International retailers Primark, El Corte Ingles, Bonmarche and Joe Fresh have confirmed they were supplied by one of the factories located inside the collapsed building.
Bangladesh's government announced plans to increase the minimum wage for garment workers - now $38 a month - and to allow textile employees to form unions. EFE