[For 15 days Hosena has been waiting at Adhar Chandra High School playground for her only daughter Marzina. She had hoped to find her alive but now, in tears, Hosena waits for the body. Marzina was the sole bread earner in the two-member family as Hosena’s husband abandoned them a few months after Marzina was born. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq]
Dhaka, (Daily Star): The disaster management control cell, formed to coordinate the rescue work at Rana Plaza site in Savar, hopes to call off the operation in two to three days, subject to no more bodies being found in the rubble. However, bodies are still being found there in great numbers.
A total of 73 bodies were recovered yesterday, as of filing of this report around 9:30pm. With this, the death toll in the country’s worst factory disaster went up to 819.
613 have been handed over to their families. An officer of the control cell said they would wait for the rescuers’ final report before calling off their operation.
“If no more bodies are found, we will hand over the responsibility of the operation to the district administration, said Lt Col Saiful Islam, a member of the engineering rescue team. He said the rescuers had so far been able to reach 50 metres inside the rubble through the rear of the collapsed building and created access to the first and second floors through the front.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) continued to distribute salaries at the Savar cantonment shooting ground among the workers who survived.
However, the BGMEA did not comply with the workers’ demand for four months’ salaries for all workers irrespective of their joining date.
This sparked dissatisfaction over the payment among the workers. Abdul Ahad Ansary, chairman of the BGMEA’s standing committee for labourers’ education and welfare, said the organisation had decided to pay one month’s basic salary for each of the year a worker had worked, basic salary and 60 hours’ overtime for the month of April, and one month’s basic salary as notice pay since the workers no longer have jobs.
As for their earned leave, it had decided to pay the arrears for a maximum of 40 days, added Abdul Ahad.
However, the conditions do not apply for those whose service tenure is less than three months. These workers will receive salaries for the days they worked in April and basic salary for one month.
At a press conference in Dhaka, BGMEA officials said they had paid the wages of 1,776 workers between Tuesday night and yesterday. Meanwhile, 15 days into the fateful tragedy, the bodies trapped under the rubble have become so severely decomposed that relatives can hardly identify their loved ones.
District administration sources said they were having a hard time handing over the bodies, as they needed to confirm that the bodies were going to the right families.
“I have been looking for my daughter since the tragic day [April 24] among the bodies recovered. But the bodies pulled out in the last two or three days were too decomposed to identify,” said Ranjana Akhter, mother of garment worker Sheuli, who used to work on the 7th floor.
Now the bodies are being identified through their ID cards, mobile phones or clothes.
Yesterday, many people with photographs and ID cards of missing workers were seen waiting at Adhar Chandra High School playground for the remains of their lost ones.