Rana Plaza collapse: Wide gap persists one year on: CPD

Rana Plaza collapse: Wide gap persists one year on: CPD

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Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think-tank has urged the authorities to fulfill their commitments to help the victims of Rana Plaza tragedy and their families.
The call came at a keynote paper presented at a seminar to mark the first anniversary of the worst industrial disaster of the modern world that killed 1,134 garment workers and left many injured and jobless.
Based on a study the paper was presented by CPD additional research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem.It said both the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have fallen behind in meeting their pledges. It said the government should fulfill its pledges regarding financial support, treatment facilities and legal measures, while the BGMEA should provide salaries and dues of missing workers, compensation for the victims and their families, reemployment of the survivors.
A long-term programme focusing on sustainable livelihood needs to be formulated for the victims and their families and thereby undertake appropriate support measures, the CPD study suggested.
The High Court may provide a guideline regarding who will take how much responsibility regarding the payment of compensation, it said.
The study found that there was no long-term scheme for victims’ treatment and only one critically injured patient was sent abroad though there was a commitment from the government side that seriously wounded workers to be sent abroad for better treatment.
It also claimed the BGMEA did not take initiative to arrange alternate jobs for injured workers.
According to the CPD, a total of 1134 were killed in the Rana Plaza tragedy, while 332 other sustained major injuries and 1468 minor injuries, and 98 still remained missing.
Over 1000 workers, who were affected in the tragedy, have not yet got work due to physical disabilities.
The CID has not yet completed its investigation and has yet to file the case in this connection, the study added.
Based on the ILO convention, the committee headed by the GOC, Ninth Infantry Division has estimated compensation suggesting Tk 1.45 million for the family of each deceased, while Tk 0.75 million for each worker who lost one limb, Tk 0.45 million as treatment cost for each injured workers and Tk 0.15 million for the mentally distressed.
A total of US$17 million has been collected under the Rana Plaza Trust Fund against the targeted amount of US$ 40 million.
A major part of North American retailers/ buyers did not express any willingness to participate accordingly, the CPD study noted.
The CPD in partnership of 12 other organizations arranged the programme held with CPD chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan in the chair.
Member of parliamentary standing committee on ministry of Labour and Employment Shirin Akhter MP, secretary of the ministry Mikail Shipar, BGMEA leader Moinuddin Ahmed, Ain O Salish Kendra chairman Hamida Hossain, RMG workers leader Nazma Akter and dead victim’s wife Sona Begum addressed the programme.
CPD executive director Dr Mustafizur Rahman moderated the function. Shirin Akhter MP said a comprehensive list of the victims, including those who still remain missing should be published on the website of the government.
The Jasad lawmaker said a caucus can be formed in the national parliament to raise voice for the labour safety and rights.
Secretary of the Labour ministry Mikail Shipar said the government has so far spent over Tk 23.55 crore while the BGMEA provided Tk. 4.40 crore in the Rana Plaza tragedy.
Of the Tk 14.40 crore, Tk. 2 crore was donated to the PM’s Relief Fund. The government provided Tk 15.09 crore assistance from the PM’s Relief Fund to the families of 962 workers killed, he said.
But families of 173 other dead could not be financially assisted as 88 victims’ families are still unknown, while DNA of 85 dead remains unidentified, he added.
Rehman Sobhan said the government should form a committee to permanently oversee rights and safety of the labourers addressing the specific concerns of the workers. – UNB

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