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Families of 104 missing Rana Plaza workers to get help

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2015-04-24 01:30:47 BdST


The government has initiated moves to give assistance to the families of 104 workers who remain untraced even two years after the Rana Plaza building collapse.

Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar told reporters on Thursday that the Global Donors Trust Fund had been informed about the status of the 104 missing workers.
“A list has been forwarded. The Trust will give assistance to these families,” he said.
“At present, it does not have sufficient funds. The assistance can be given once organisations that have promised money make their contribution,” Shipar further said.
The labour secretary gave the information at a press conference held at the Prime Minister’s Office ahead of the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
He said affected families had informed the government that 166 were still missing.

More than 1,100 people died when Rana Plaza complex, which housed several RMG factories, collapsed in April, 2013. Photo:

“Inquiries in 48 districts led to information being gathered about 104 of the 166 missing people who had been named. 

“District magistrates have said they worked in some of the factories housed in Rana Plaza at the time of the disaster.”
He said that information – if provided by district magistrates about any of the remaining 62 - would be forwarded to the trust.
“But, unfortunately, according to our information so far, we got no details about them even after knocking at their addresses,” the labour secretary said.

One of the most horrific industrial accidents in the world, the collapse of Rana Plaza at Savar on Apr 24, 2013 left 1,135 dead and thousands injured.

Almost all the victims were workers of garment factories housed in that building.

At the press conference, Prime Minister’s Office Director General Kabir Bin Anwar said 1,117 died instantly when the building collapsed and 18 others passed away in hospital.

Of the bodies, 291 could not be identified, he said. 

“Their DNA tests are done. Their families will get help when we get the results,” he added.

Secretary Shipar said the Trust Fund of global donors to help Rana Plaza victims had given Tk 1.84 billion in cash to the victims so far.

A total of 2,871 victims applied for the help and 2,839 got aid after scrutiny, he said.

According to him, family of each victim got damages ranging from Tk 150,000 to Tk 7.4 million.

Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon said there was propaganda in and outside Bangladesh regarding the compensation.

“That is still going on. We’ve given compensation by adhering to the international standards. Our factories are also complying with international norms,” he said.

Aid from PM’s relief fund

According to PMO Director General Anwar, families of 978 killed in the accident have so far got Tk 154.25 million from the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund. 

Also, 38 severely injured were given Tk 41 million from the fund, he said.

Anwar dismissed the claim by Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) and some other organisations that the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund raised money for Rana Plaza victims.

“There is no fund named after the Rana Plaza under the prime minister,” he said.

According to Anwar, the prime minister has two funds - one is the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund and the other the Prime Minister’s Discretionary Fund.

He said the government did not allot money for the relief and welfare fund. 

It runs on money donated by people and organisations and it is used to help people in distress and victims of accidents.

Government money goes to the discretionary, according to Anwar.

“Financial propriety is strictly followed to run both funds and they are regularly audited,” he said.

“Even after all this, I’ll say that if any organisation wants to say anything about the funds, they must do so only after gathering information. 

“We have the Right to Information Act now. Anyone can get information through the legal process,” he added.

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said the TIB should clarify the basis of their report.

The expenditure

Around 4,000 people, including 3,500 workers, were in the Rana Plaza building when it collapsed.

Locals started the rescue operation immediately after the accident. 

Fire Service, army, navy, air force, police, RAB, BGB , Ansar, health officials, BGMEA, rover scouts, BNCC, Red Crescent, Dhaka and Gazipur district administrations, local hospitals, city corporation, leaders and activists of political parties and several local and foreign organisations joined the rescue work afterwards.

A 10-strong committee headed by the army’s 9th Infantry Division GOC was formed to coordinate the operation on Apr 25.

The rescue operation was called off after 21 days.

A rough estimate of the cost of the rescue operation was presented at a PMO press conference, indicating over Tk 46.66 million was spent. 

Of the amount, Dhaka district administration spent over Tk 25.38 million, army over Tk 12.13 million, other district administrations over Tk 3.51 million, Fire Service Tk 2.5 million and Dhaka police superintendent spent over Tk 2.7 million.

Authorities spent Tk 395,000 to fence the site with tin. The injured were given 206 sarees, 111 three-piece and 158 lungis.

The prime minister gave Tk 1.2 million to the rescuers as allowance and to buy tools for the rescue.