Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina consoles a wailing relative of a victim of Tazreen Fashions blaze. She handed over cheques to the relatives of the fire victims at her office in the capital yesterday. Photo: BSS
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday handed over Tk 2.58 crore to the families of 43 of the 112 garment workers killed in the November 24 fire at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia.
The money was given to the families -- Tk 6 lakh each -- at the Prime Minister's Office.
The amount needed for the families of all the 112 dead workers will total Tk 6.72 crore.
Of the Tk 6 lakh given to each family yesterday, Tk 2 lakh came from the Prime Minister's Relief and Welfare Fund and Tk 1 lakh each from the labour and employment ministry, BGMEA, Bankers Association of Bangladesh and Hong Kong-based RMG importer Li & Fung.
The prime minister called upon all to help hunt down those instigating workers to set fire to garment factories, reports UNB.
"You have noticed that workers are frequently being instigated to torch garment factories. Why is it happening? â€¦ It needs to be identified who are instigating workers to set fire to factories by giving them moneyâ€¦â€ UNB quoted her as saying.
Hasina urged all to remain alert to prevent recurrence of fire incidents like the one at Tazreen factory.
Referring to the recent arrest of RMG workers for attempting to set fire to a garment factory, she said such "destructive game" was very unfortunate for the country.
She said her government is assisting the families of the fire victims according to its capability.
â€œI know we won't be able to bring back those who have lost their lives â€¦ But we'll stand beside you and continue to help,â€ she added.
The prime minister also said the government would do whatever it can for the victims of flyover girder collapse at Bahaddarhat in Chittagong.
Earlier, as per her directives, family members of the 43 victims were brought to Dhaka from different districts under government arrangement. They will also be taken back home.
Meanwhile, at a press briefing at the trade body's office in the capital, BGMEA Vice President Faruque Hassan said that Tk 50,000 would be given to each of those injured in the blaze.
BGMEA will also open a disaster relief fund account to collect contributions from buyers, shipping lines and RMG manufacturers soon, Hassan said.
BGMEA Vice President SM Mannan Kochi said they had already taken responsibility for the treatment cost of the 55 injured in Tazreen fire.
Of them, 22 are now under treatment in different hospitals in the city and the others have already left hospital. Fatema, an injured worker, died yesterday, raising the toll to 112, he said.
Hassan said BGMEA will rehabilitate the fire victims by offering them jobs in apparel factories, helping for 10 years the families of those killed if they do not have any earning members and paying for medical expenses of the injured.
Also yesterday, after a meeting with the trade body and labour leaders, Mikail Shipar, labour secretary, said BGMEA would disburse salary of 990 victim workers at the Industrial Relations Institute in Tongi at 10:00am today.
Tazreen will pay salary to the workers in three categories. Those who worked for up to three months will get pay for November and Tk 1,000.
Those who worked for three months to one year will get salary for November and one month's gross pay. The workers in the third category -- those who worked for one year and above -- will receive salary for November and two months' gross salary, the secretary said.
The workers, who deserve, will also be given money against their earned leave, he added.
Meanwhile, the probe committee on investigating the Tazreen fire believes that the November 24 blaze was an act of subversion, reports ATN Bangla.
Additional Home Secretary Mainuddin Khandaker, also chief of the committee, made the observation after the committee interrogated the factory authority, including its owner Delowar Hossain, and 13 labour leaders.
â€œWe have considered three probable dimensions -- whether it was a mere accident, or the owner had set fire to get rid of debt or other liabilities or if it was a subversive act. Among the three -- subversive act is more probable,â€ said Mainuddin, reports NTV.
The committee will submit the report to the ministry soon.