Legal action will be taken against the owners of the Rupganj factory where over 50 workers died in a fire, if there is evidence of their negligence, State Minister for Labor and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian pledged on Friday.
“A committee would be formed by the Ministry of Labor and Employment to look into the overall cause of the tragic accident. It will also the involvement of child labour in this factory. If evidence is found, action will be taken against the employer in accordance with labor law,” she said after visiting the fire site on Friday evening.
She also said that the family of the deceased would be provided with Tk 2 lac and the injured Tk 50,000 tomorrow from the Bangladesh Workers Welfare Foundation fund under the labor ministry.
The state minister visited the injured workers at Dhaka Medical College Hospitals and inquired about their treatment.
A massive fire broke out in a seven-storey factory of Hashem Foods Ltd, a subsidiary of the Sajeeb Group, in Bhulta of Rupganj on Thursday evening.
The confirmed death toll till filing of this report stands at 52, and is expected to rise.
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 has 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, that 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 literally break down the locked collapsible gate on the building's 4th floor to go in and recover the bodies. That is where they found 49 of the bodies, burnt to a pulp 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 Tk 25,000 to each family of the deceased and Tk 10,000 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 'compensation' to the victims.