Families of the deceased to be given Tk2 lakh each
Legal action will be taken against the owner of the Rupganj factory where over 50 workers died in a fire, if there is evidence of their negligence, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian pledged on Friday.
“A committee will be formed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment to look into the overall cause of the tragic accident. It will also investigate the involvement of child labour in this factory. If evidence is found, action will be taken against the employer in accordance with labour law,” she said after visiting the fire site on Friday evening.
She also said that the families of the deceased would be provided with Tk2 lakh and the injured Tk50,000 from the Bangladesh Workers Welfare Foundation fund under the labour ministry.
The state minister visited the injured workers at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and inquired about their treatment.
A massive fire broke out at a six-storey factory of Hashem Foods Ltd, a subsidiary of the Sajeeb Group, in Bhulta of Rupganj on Thursday evening.
The confirmed death toll till the filing of this report stands at 52 and is expected to rise.
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As more details emerged of the catastrophe, it became clear that the workers were left with no chance in the face of the raging inferno that had been further fuelled by combustible items such as ghee, butter, oil and polybags stored on each floor.
Even so, the workers may have had a chance at escape, if only the building code had been maintained to provide an emergency exit, or the management had not implemented the medieval practice of locking the gates of the factory floors, which carried undertones of the horrific Tazreen Garments fire in 2012 that killed at least 112.
Deputy Director of the Fire Service Debashish Bardhan confirmed to UNB that rescue workers had to break down the locked collapsible gate on the building's fourth floor to go in and recover the bodies. That is where they found 49 of the bodies, burnt to a crisp overnight on the factory floor.
According to the information gathered from relatives, 45 workers are still missing. Most of the workers in the factory were juveniles.
A five-member probe committee has been formed to investigate the fire. Narayanganj Deputy Commissioner Mostain Billah has announced assistance of Tk25,000 to each family of the deceased and Tk10,000 for the treatment of the injured from the funds of the district administration.
Besides, on behalf of the factory owner, Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi Bir Pratik will make arrangements for compensating the victims.