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Rediff News  All News  » News » Collapse toll hits 1,127, Bangla army to end salvage campaign

Collapse toll hits 1,127, Bangla army to end salvage campaign

May 13, 2013 17:11 IST

The Bangladesh army is planning to wrap up its 20 days of salvage campaign at the ruins of a garment factory building that collapsed last month, even as toll from the country's worst ever industrial disaster rose to 1,127.

"We have reached the fag end of our salvage operations here," an army spokesman at the collapse site here on the outskirts of capital city Dhaka told mediapersons.

He said commander of the army-led salvage campaign Maj Gen Chowdhury Hassan Sarwardy was expected to call a press conference at the site of the collapsed building which housed five garment factories, 300 shops and a branch of a private bank.

The spokesman's comments came as a senior army officer familiar with the rescue operations said they nearly wrapped up searches for more bodies under the concrete ruins after rescuers only found few limbs of human corpses in the past two days.

Army troops, fire fighters and ordinary volunteers rescued 2,444 people alive as the country simultaneously exercised its biggest ever salvage campaign earning high appreciations alongside the criticism for lack of safety standards blamed for the disaster.

Officials said 827 bodies were taken away by relatives while nearly 200 bodies which could not be detected by relatives were buried as undetected bodies after their DNA test was carried out.

"We have handed over 33 bodies to Anjuman-e-Mafidul Islam alone on Monday after their DNA tests for their burial," a doctor at the state-run DhakaMedicalCollegeHospital told PTI.

Witnesses at the collapse site said truck loads of debris were being carried to two nearby locations, one on the bank of the local BangshiRiver where government inspectors were searching out valuables to be kept at the government warehouses.

"The ruins were expected to be completely removed in next few days, but the army is expected to hand over the charge of the salvage campaign to the local administration," an official of Dhaka's district administration said.

It is still unclear how many people were in the illegally constructed RanaPlaza on April 24 when the structure collapsed, a day after a huge crack was spotted.

The eight-storey building owner Sohel Rana and five factory owners have been charged with causing death due to negligence and violating construction laws, charges punishable by a maximum seven years in jail.

Anisur Rahman in Savar, Bangladesh