On this soil at Savar stood the nine-storey Rana Plaza, which came crashing down three weeks ago, causing heavy casualties. The site looks like plain land yesterday, completely devoid of any life. Photo: Rashed Shumon
The government will acquire the land of the collapsed Rana Plaza, which came crashing down on April 24, and take up a long-term plan to rehabilitate the victims' family members there.
Jahangir Kabir Nanak, state minister for local government, made these comments while talking to reporters at the collapsed Rana Plaza site after a prayer service for the victims.
Earlier in the day, the army turned control of the site over to the district administration a day after it ended a nearly three-week search for bodies among the rubble.
Declaring the site a reserved zone, the district administration yesterday put up a barbed-wire fence around it.
"The government will erect a memorial on the site in honour of the dead and injured in the deadliest building collapse in the country's history," Nanak told the newsmen.
In reply to a question, Nanak said the government would ensure "exemplary punishment" to those responsible for the disaster, including the local pourashava mayor, engineers and building owner.
Lt Col Md Moin Uddin, commanding officer of the Third Engineering Battalion (Savar Cantonment), said the army had formally handed over the disaster site.
The army will have a cell at the Savar Cantonment Executive Officer's Office with whatever information it has on the disaster and rescue operation, said Moin.
Thousands of mourners gathered at the site of the wreckage at noon and attended the doa, arranged by the army, to pray for the souls of 1,127 people and recovery of the wounded.
Meanwhile, hundreds of relatives of the missing workers staged a demonstration on the Dhaka-Aricha highway at 12:30 pm, demanding the bodies of their dear ones.
They also called for the highest punishment to the building owner.
Victim shop owners and traders, at a human chain programme near the collapsed site yesterday, appealed to the prime minister for their proper rehabilitation and compensation.
"The shop was my only source of earning. I am totally ruined following the disaster but have not yet got any assurance of assistance," said Shahinur Islam Parag, a cloth trader.
Around 150 traders, who had shops inside the plaza, embraced the same fate, he added.
Md Kamrul Hasan Mollah, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Savar, said the administration had begun preparing a fresh list of missing persons and till yesterday it had recorded the names of 211 people.
The victims' family members have been requested to communicate with the UNO office for all kinds of information related to their missing relatives.
“We will also segregate the names related to genuine missing cases from the list prepared by the district administration and finally add them to the complete list to be checked by the BGMEA," he added.
Asked why the authorities needed to prepare a further list of missing persons, he said, "The list that was hurriedly prepared by the district administration control room had some inconsistencies and it was also lacking in chronological order."
After scrutiny, the final list will be sent to the Prime Minister's Office through the deputy commissioner's office.
Adhar Chandra High School playground, which witnessed heart-rending wailing of relatives of the missing workers for the last 20 days, wore a desolate look yesterday.
The school authorities were seen doing some clean-up work at the premises.
The army, which along with locals and the fire brigade had rescued 2,438 people from the rubble and recovered 1,115 bodies, declared the end of the operation through a press briefing at 8:30pm on Monday.