Rana Plaza tragedy: Tk 48 lakh for each family of victims demanded

Staff Reporter :
Garment workers and victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy on Tuesday demanded of the government to ensure capital punishment of the owners of the building and the factories housed in it.
They also demanded that the compensation to families of the workers killed in the building should not be less than Tk 48 lakh each.
The demands came from a press conference, organised by the Garment Workers’ Unity Forum, at the Nirmal Sen Auditorium at Topkhana Road in the city.
The Forum placed a nine-point demand that also include providing job to at least one member of the family of a maimed worker and taking quick steps to ensure the overall safety of the workers in garment factories.
Reading out a written statement of the Fourm, its president Moshrefa Mishu raised questions about the lack of disbursement of the funds that have been collected by the Prime Minister’s Office as well as by the joint initiatives of buyers, retailers and other stakeholders.
She said that although Tk 127 crore was deposited to the PM’s relief, only  
Tk 22 crore has been disbursed so far “Why the rest of the fund has been lying idle while most of the victims are suffering?”
Moshrefa Mishu also expressed her concern over ‘conspiracies by different quarters’ to lower the amount of the official compensation.
She noted that a high-powered committee appointed by the High Court in August last has primarily proposed a compensation of Tk 14-15 lakh to the families of the each dead worker.
“The compensation proposed for workers, who lost limbs, is even lower. We strongly condemn such moves to lower the compensation,” the Garment Workers Unity Forum president said in response to a query.
“The compensation should be based on the loss of earning in one lifetime. For most of the victims, it should be fixed at around Tk 48 lakh as per this parameter, which is also required by the ILO convention 121,” she said.
Mishu demanded that the labour law be amended to ensure that the victims get the standard compensation under proper monitoring by a body composed of all stakeholders in the sector – including representatives of government, owners, buyers and workers.
“The meager funds that have so far been distributed from the authorities should be considered nothing more than primary relief,” she told reporters.
The Forum has also declared a ‘black flag march’ in Savar on April 24 (Thursday), to mark the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy. The collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24 last year killed at least 1135 workers and injured many more, according to the update so far done by the authorities.