DHAKA - After nearly 27 months of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, located on the outskirt of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, which housed five garment factories, killing at least 1,136 workers and injuring many, the heirs and victims of the apparel industry's deadliest incident at last got the full compensation as pledged by the international buyers.
The Rana Plaza Coordination Committee led by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been administering a Donors Trust Fund that was looking after the compensation issue of the victims.
Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, member of the coordination committee and assistant executive director of BIL, said in June that some 30 percent of the pledged money had been deposited into the fund, which in the meantime has been distributed among the victims and heirs. Earlier in April, another 30 percent was distributed and some 40 percent was distributed last year in five instalments.
Until now the coordination committee has distributed 13.8 million US dollars among 2,889 injured workers and 5,126 heirs of dead workers. Besides, major retail group Primark paid 6.3 million US dollars to the 600 workers of a new factory named New Web Bottom. Some 2.5 million US dollars were given to the injured workers and heirs of the dead workers from the prime minister's relief fund.
A fund worth 1 million US dollars has been created for providing medicare to the wounded workers. The committee also plans to form a trust so that seriously wounded workers can receive the necessary assistance throughout their lives. According to Ahmed, the family members of each dead worker received 1 million taka (around 12.900 US dollars) as compensation while wounded workers each got 0.5 million taka (around 6.450 US dollars).
He said though activities of the coordination committee would come to an end on September 30 this year, the committee would continue working in limited form to handle the matters in case anyone made any fresh claim of compensation.
Taslima Akter, coordinator at Garment Worker Sanghati, welcomed the completion of compensation payments to the Rana Plaza victims. “The people who are responsible for the incident did not pay compensation. Workers did not get any money from the assets of the Rana Plaza owner, which was confiscated by the government,” she said.
Akter said the government did not take any measures to make it mandatory for factory owners and international buyers to pay compensation. “A legally binding compensation system can be introduced for factory owners and buyers for the sake of the welfare of the workers in case of such incidents happen in the future.”
Written by Syful Islam