* Rescue officials say do not expect more survivors
* Primark, Loblaw say will compensate victims' families
* Official death toll stands at 390, many more missing
* Angry scenes as building owner brought to Dhaka court
* International Labour Organisation sending mission
By Ruma Paul and Serajul Quadir
DHAKA, April 30 Rescue officials in Bangladesh
said on Tuesday they had given up hope of finding more survivors
from a garment factory complex that collapsed killing hundreds,
as the government came under pressure to do more to enforce
building safety standards.
At least 390 people have been confirmed dead in what is just
the latest incident to raise serious questions about worker
safety and low wages in the poor South Asian country that relies
on garments for 80 percent of its exports.
Representatives of major international garment buyers - some
facing sharp criticism in their home markets for doing too
little to safeguard the mostly female workers making their
clothes - met industry representatives on Monday and agreed to
form a joint panel to put together a new safety plan.
With no hope left of finding further survivors, heavy
machinery has been brought in to clear the mass of concrete and
debris from the site in the commercial suburb of Savar, about 30
km (20 miles) from the capital Dhaka.
But the operation remained agonisingly slow for the dozens
of relatives still awaiting news of missing loved ones six days
after the illegally constructed Rana Plaza building came
crashing down as about 3,000 people worked inside.
"What's the use of using heavy equipment if they cannot find
the dead bodies?" asked a grief-stricken father who, like many
others, has been waiting on the streets near the site hoping for
information about his son, who worked in a garment factory.
As anger continued over the country's worst industrial
accident, the owner of the collapsed building was brought before
a court in Dhaka on Monday, where lawyers and protesters chanted
"hang him, hang him".
About 20 people were injured on Tuesday as police fired
teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse protesters
in Savar calling for the death penalty for the owners of the
building and factories.
RETAILERS PLEDGE COMPENSATION
Two Western retailers supplied by factories at Rana Plaza,
Britain's Primark and Canada's Loblaw, have
promised to compensate families of garment workers killed while
making their clothes.
About 2,500 people have been rescued from the ruins of the
building, which housed several factories on the upper floors,
but hundreds remain unaccounted for.
Officials in Bangladesh have said the eight-storey complex
had been built on swampy ground without the correct permits, and
more than 3,000 workers - most of them young women - entered the
building in the morning on Wednesday last week, despite warnings
that it was structurally unsafe.
A bank and shops in the building closed after a jolt was
felt and cracks were noticed on some pillars on Tuesday.
On Monday, representatives of about 45 companies including
Gap Inc, H&M, Inditex, JC Penny
, Marks & Spencer, Nike Inc, Primark,
Tesco, Wal-Mart and Li & Fung met
officials from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and
Exporters Association to discuss safety.
Some foreign buyers have said that whilst they can make
efforts to ensure decent working conditions, it is up to the
authorities to enforce building safety standards.
"There is a law, but due to lack of implementation and
severe manpower shortages such unlawful buildings are being
constructed," said Roger Hubert, vice president of Li & Fung.
"They have substandard building plans, lack of fire safety,
and other compliance issues."
Eight people have been arrested - four factory bosses, two
engineers, building owner Mohammed Sohel Rana and his father,
Abdul Khalek. Police are looking for a fifth factory boss,
Spanish citizen David Mayor, although it was unclear whether he
was in Bangladesh at the time of the accident.
There were angry scenes as Rana, a local leader of the
ruling Awami League's youth front, was led into court on Monday
wearing a helmet and bulletproof police jacket, witnesses said.
"Put the killer on the gallows," one onlooker outside the
court shouted. Rana, who was arrested on Sunday by the elite
Rapid Action Battalion apparently trying to flee to India, was
ordered to be held on remand for 15 days for interrogation.
Khalek, who officials said was named in documents as a legal
owner of the Rana Plaza building, was arrested in Dhaka on
Monday. Those being held face charges of faulty construction and
causing unlawful death.
The High Court on Tuesday ordered the seizure of property
belonging to Rana and four others.
The collapse was the third major industrial incident in five
months in Bangladesh, the second-largest exporter of garments in
the world behind China. In November, a fire at the Tazreen
Fashion factory in a suburb of Dhaka killed 112 people.
The industry employs about 3.6 million people in Bangladesh,
most of them women, some of whom earn as little as $38 a month.
Anger over the disaster has sparked days of protests and
clashes. Many factories remained closed on Monday due to labour
unrest and police used teargas to quell demonstrations.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), an agency of
the United Nations, said it was sending a high-level mission to
Bangladesh in coming days.
"Horror and regret must translate into firm action," said
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement. "Action now can
prevent further tragedy."