Families of dead workers to get Tk 19.5 lakh each
Rana Plaza compensation committee makes recommendationsMuktadir Rashid . Savar
A high-powered committee on fixation of compensation for the victims of Rana Plaza collapse in a meeting in Savar on Monday set about Tk 19.5 lakh as compensation to be paid to the families of each of the deceased, meeting sources said.
The committee proposed that the total compensation would be calculated on the basis of ‘earning of 25 work years lost’ with a starting wage of Tk 5,000 per month.
The meeting chaired by the nine infantry division general officer commanding, Major General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy, at his office also fixed the compensation for 221 injured workers, considering their physical condition.
The committee, however, did not include the annual inflation of 6.72 per cent as recommended by a sub-committee considering that each family of the victims would get the ‘compensation’ in coming days.
‘It means, the salary of each dead worker has been calculated at Tk 5,000 per month throughout his or her 25 work years lost,’ said a source.
But, the committee took into consideration 2.5 per cent discount on the total amount as proposed by the sub-committee.
In total, the compensation for each dead workers was set at Tk 19.50 lakh that would include salary for 25 years, Tk 25,000 for burial cost and Tk 1,80,000 for welfare allowance, and onetime payment of Tk 5 lakh for ‘pain and suffering cost’ of the victim’s family, the educational expenditure of Tk 1.13 lakh for their children up to higher secondary level.
The meeting could not name who would pay the compensation but said the High Court would decide the matter for the benefit of the poor apparel workers and the affected families.
In the meeting, the chair announced that the proposal would be submitted to the court in two or three days.
On the morning of April 24, the eight-storey Rana Plaza, which housed five clothing factories, a shopping mall and a bank, collapsed, leaving at least 1,133 people dead and about 2,000 injured.
After the country’s worst industrial disaster in Savar, a High Court bench of Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarker suo moto instituted a committee composed of the nine infantry division’s GOC and other agencies concerned to decide the amount of compensation.
The high-powered committee had held a meeting at the Savar cantonment on August 29 and instituted two sub-committees – one led by economist MM Akash to fix the compensation and the other by the director of the directorate general of health services, professor ABM Abdul Hannan, to consider physical condition of the injured.
The committee’s meeting at the Savar Cantonment to finalise the compensation was, among others, represented by the Dhaka district administration, physicians, officials from ministries concerns and senior executive from Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association.
The BGMEA representatives repeatedly requested the committee lower the amount of compensation and referred to the amount they had paid as compensated in the cases of other apparel sector accidents, including the Tazreen Fashions fire in 2012.
BGMEA vice-president Shahidul Azim claimed that they had already donated Tk 15 crore to the victims raising the fund from the owners.
‘It will need Tk 300 crore to compensate all victims…,’ he said asking how the fund would be raised.
The sub-committees headed by MM Akash developed a formula considering local and international parameters on compensation.
Akash told the meeting that the compensation might be borne by the owner of Rana Plaza, owners of the factories and BGMEA, by the government for the negligence of its officials and the foreign buyers.
The meeting unanimously approved the rate incorporating the suggestions and observations of BGMEA.
The meeting also suggested that the amount the families or victims had received from the prime minister’s fund alone would be adjusted to the amount of the compensation.
On finalising the compensation rate, the GOC told the meeting, ‘Let the High Court decide who will pay the compensation…’
The committee also proposed a financial package for the families of the people who died in the 20-day rescue operation.
Earlier, the army, which led the Rana Plaza rescue operation, has prepared a list of 261 people who went missing in the collapse in April.
Apart from the 261 enlisted missing, the meeting on Monday was told that there were no claimants of 40 other bodies.
Among the injured workers, the committee finalised compensation of about Tk 20 lakh for each of the 46 workers who had permanently become disabled for spinal injuries.
The committee also proposed that each of the 25 workers who lost a limb should get about Tk 10 lakh.
Sub-committee member professor Nokul Kumar Dutta of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University told the meeting that about 150 workers required long-term treatment.
The compensation committee proposed Tk 6 lakh for their treatment along with an employment opportunity for each of the family members.
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