Dhaka,  Thursday
23 May 2024

11 years of Rana Plaza tragedy

Victims no longer hope to get proper treatment

Jannatul Ferdushy 

Published: 07:45, 24 April 2024

Victims no longer hope to get proper treatment

Photo: Collected 

Today marks 11 years since the Rana Plaza tragedy, the deadliest accident in the history of the readymade garment sector, but the victims who sustained injuries are still suffering for lack of proper treatment.

They only got one layer of treatment at that time. But after that, they have not received any further treatment, which is why they are still unable to get back to normal life.   

Lovely Akter, a labour leader, told The Daily Messenger the families of the dead victims received some compensation but those who were severely injured and are still alive are suffering because of lack of better treatment. 

“Some of them need another surgery in the leg while some need further treatment in the hand. Dr Mohammed Enamur Rahman, owner of Enam Medical College Hospital, provided treatment to the victims. This made him popular and he then became an MP and also the disaster management and relief minister. But he has now forgotten the victims as he has not done anything to help them get better treatment.”

Out of the 5,000 workers who were at Rana Plaza on the fateful day of April 24 in 2013, more than 1,136 were killed and nearly 2,438 sustained injuries when the multi-storey building housing five garment factories in Savar collapsed.

Lovely said on behalf of the workers, a compensation of Tk 48 lakh, equivalent to the lifetime income of the dead and missing workers, was demanded. But that has not been paid yet. 
She also demanded accommodation facilities for the injured victims on the Rana Plaza Premises.     

The labour rights organisations said they would write to the prime minister demanding further treatment of the injured victims and accommodation facilities on the Rana Plaza premises for them. 

Ruhul Amin, a victim who lost his leg, needs plastic surgery and an artificial leg to live a better life. But he is yet to receive the treatment.

“I got primary treatment. The doctor suggested further treatment and an artificial leg. But due to scarcity of money, I did not go to Dhaka for treatment,” he said.  

Another victim Fatema, who lost her hands when she was rescued from under the rubble, said she had not received better treatment and was yet to return to normal life.  
“We are very cordial with the victims. Everyone got treatment. Our association provided more than Tk 15 crore to the victims. The garment factories that were in Rana Plaza also provided financial support to the victims’ families,” said Shahidullah Azim, former vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).   

Leaders and activists of different labour organisations will gather at the site today to honour the memories of the victims of the tragedy. Every year on April 24, they gather there to demand that workers’ rights be established and those responsible for the Rana Plaza collapse be punished.

The experience gained from the Rana Plaza accident has not been utilised in other industrial sectors. As a result, there have been other big accidents, such as Chattogram container depot blaze, Hashem Food factory fire in Narayanganj, and the Churihatta fire. In February this year, 14 workers sustained burn injuries in a gas pipeline explosion at Crony Apparel Limited in Narayanganj's Fatullah upazila. 

The workers affected by the accidents were not adequately compensated and did not receive proper medical care for a long time. 

The Rana Plaza victims demanded maximum punishment for all the culprits, including Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana, immediate wage board for all 40 lakh garment workers, and Tk 25,000 monthly wage for workers. Their demand for the monthly wage has not been met yet.  

They also demanded 60 per cent allowance until wage increase, long-term medical care and necessary rehabilitation of the injured workers, proper conservation and permanent memorial construction at the site of the collapsed building, formation of an emergency fund for all workers, and closure of all factories on April 24 as part of mourning.