Banks to raise Tk 100cr for Savar victims

Photo: Star

Banks have agreed to create a Tk 100 crore fund to help the victims of Savar tragedy and tackle such disasters in future, directors and bankers said yesterday.
The decision came at a meeting between Bangladesh Bank and bankers and owners of commercial banks at the BB headquarters in Dhaka, with Governor Atiur Rahman in the chair.
Bangladesh Association of Banks and Association of Bankers Bangladesh — the platforms of bank owners and chief executives — will sit soon separately to finalise their contributions to the fund.
A portion of the fund will be handed over to the prime minister through the central bank.
“If each bank donates Tk 2 crore, the fund will cross Tk 100 crore,” said Nazrul Islam Mazumder, chairman of the bank owners’ association.
Dutch-Bangla Bank has announced to give at least Tk 10 crore alone, said Mazumder, also the chairman of EXIM Bank.
Chief executives of the banks have proposed to donate one day’s salary of their employees to the fund.
“We’ll sit on Sunday to finalise our contributions,” said Nurul Amin, chairman of the chief executives’ association and managing director of NCC Bank.
A nine-storey building, Rana Plaza, collapsed in Savar on Wednesday killing at least 381 people, mostly poor garment workers.
The building that was constructed on a six-storey foundation had housed five garment factories.
More than 1,000 got injured and many will not be able to work in future.
The banks want the money to be spent in three phases in short, medium and long terms.
Mazumder said cash will be given to the victims as an immediate help and providing adequate treatment to the severely injured would be the medium-term measure.
Family members of the dead would get financial support under the long-term assistance.The banks have also decided to reward the volunteers who risked their lives to recover the dead bodies and the living victims from beneath the debris, said Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, managing director of Pubali Bank. Mazumder said they are willing to provide the volunteers with jobs, if they want.
The two platforms also proposed a fund out of their donation money to help factories renovate their rundown buildings.
“Money can be lent to these factories at a low interest rate,” said Chowdhury of Pubali Bank.
Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and industry and the chairman of Standard Bank, said banks will come up with help as they did in all previous disasters.
“Banks have responded positively to our request to help the victims,” said SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of the central bank.
Banks spent around Tk 300 crore in 2012 under their corporate social responsibility schemes, according to the BB.

Source: The Daily Star

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