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Gazipur factory fire: Dreams turned to ashes

  • Published at 12:22 am December 17th, 2019
Gazipur-fire-UNB
Body bags of the fire victims of Luxury Fan factory in Gazipur on Sunday, December 15, 2019 UNB

Luxury Fan Factory was operating illegally, lacked environmental clearance certificate

The untimely death of the 10 workers, who were killed by Sunday’s fire at Luxury Fan Factory in Gazipur, have left their families in shock, despair and anger. 

Five of the victims were natives of Gazipur district and were the only earning members in their families.

According to sources, the factory rented out a residential building in the area to manufacture fans and lights around three years ago. 

When Dhaka Tribune visited the factory, agitated locals demanded the removal of such unauthorized and illegal factories from the area as soon as possible and the highest punishment for those responsible for the deadly fire accident.

Rabey Begum, mother of Parvez, 19, who was one of the victims, said: "Our son was born after three daughters. He had been the sole provider for our family since he was young, as his father cannot work.”

Faisal, 20, another victim, was a student of honours at Kazi Azimuddin College in Gazipur. He worked at Luxury Fan Factory for only Tk5,000 per month to support his family and his studies.

Family members lament over the death of a worker of the  Luxury Fans Ltd which caught fire that killed 10 workers on Sunday, December 15, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune"My son loved bicycling,” his father Saiful Islam said. “Every year, my son participated in a local bicycle race arranged on the occasion of Victory Day. He used to love bicycling. But now, he will no longer take part in the race.

"The factory authorities forced my son to work extra hours on Sunday, saying if he wanted to get paid that day, he would have to work till 8pm,” the grief-stricken father added.

“Ma, the factory is on fire. The exit is locked and we cannot get out. Save us." This is the last thing Uttam Kumar Das, 26, a worker of Luxury Fan Factory, said to his mother Mina Rani Das on phone call before the fire took his life. 

He was the only source of income in his family, Mina told Dhaka Tribune. 

Rashed, 27, another victim, left behind two sons, a six-year-old and a three-year-old, said his father Kamal Hossain.

“It is I who was supposed to die before my son, not the other way around,” he said, still processing his son’s sudden demise. "His children have become orphans, his wife is now a widow and we have lost our son."

Shamim, 22, another victim, left behind a 10-month-old daughter. 

Factory was running illegally

Luxury Fan Factory, which caught fire on Sunday and killed 10 workers, was illegally operating in a residential building and also lacked an environmental clearance certificate.

Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) Joint Inspector General Farid Ahmed told reporters on Monday: "Luxury Fan Factory, located in Gazipur Sadar upazila, owned by Ruza Hi-Tech, was operating without any approval. If anyone wants to establish a factory, they first need to take approval from DIFE, or else no other authorities will issue them trade licence or any other approval."

Ruza Hi-Tech Company has been operating two other unauthorized factories in the same village.

 “We will close down those two factories too. We will soon file a case against the owner with the Labour Court," Farid Ahmed said.

Bodies handed over to families

The bodies of the 10 victims have been handed over to their families.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Shahinur Islam, head of an investigation committee formed by the district administration, relayed the information on Monday, reports UNB.

He said the postmortem examinations were carried out at Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital before they were handed over to their families.

A five-member committee was formed to investigate the fire incident, and it was asked to submit its report within seven working days. 

Our Senior Reporter Shohel Mamun contributed to this report

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