Remains not examined as many still missing

Staff Correspondent

Two years into the Rana Plaza building collapse in Savar, the government is yet to prepare a complete list of the dead or those who have remained unaccounted for while several dozen human remains found on the site later remained unexamined.
Locals and urchins collected over two hundred pieces of bones and handed those over to the police for sending the remains to the authorities concerned for examination.
But police sent some 50 pieces of bone to the laboratory for examination, the officials said.
‘We have received some 50 pieces of bone collected from the collapse site and its surroundings…It could not be
determined whether those were human remains or bones of animals,’ said Sharif Akhtaruzzaman, chief of the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory at Dhaka Medical College.
‘Had the remains been examined, it might have been possible to identify them [after DNA tests]……The remains found should be examined immediately,’ said Reshmi Akhter, the sister of missing 20-year-old Phantom Apparel worker Shayla Akhter.  She told New Age that they had lost their dear one but wanted to see her grave.
Some of the unclaimed bodies were buried after those started decomposing.
The Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed founder and coordinator Valerie Ann Taylor said her cook Delwar was still looking for his wife, who had joined one of the factories just two week before the deadly collapse.
On April 24, the Rana Plaza building housing five apparel factories came crashing down, leaving 1,137 killed and and around 2,500 workers injured, according to the government statistics.
Until now, the authorities confirmed that 104 people remained missing since the factory building had collapsed while the claims over 62 other missing people were still under verification.
‘Identities of 166 workers could not be known initially. We have tried to find the addresses of the missing workers by contacting the local administrations in 48 districts. Of the missing workers, we have collected information of 104 from 39 districts,’ Labour secretary Mikail Shipar told a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Officials of the PMO said at the press conference they did not receive any assistance particularly meant for the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse for the prime minister’s relief and welfare fund. They said they had distributed over Tk 15 crore among 1,298 families of 978 deceased from the relief fund in the last two years. The PMO also provided Tk 4.10 crore in financial assistance for 38 workers critically injured in the Rana Plaza collapse.
About questions raised by the Transparency International’s Bangladesh chapter, Kabir bin Anwar, a director general of the PMO, said the TIB might have made their report without verifying the information.
He said that there should not be any confusion over the prime minister’s relief and welfare fund as assistance received from different persons and institutions was used for different purposes, including emergency assistance to disaster victims round the year.
Commerce secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Atiqul Islam were present, among others, at the press conference.
TIB on Tuesday, in a follow-up report, said that Tk 127 crore had been collected by the prime minister’s fund after the accident, out of which only Tk 19 crore had been spent for the victims, he said.
The entire amount of Tk 127 crore was actually deserved by the victims as per the statement of agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, he said.
On July 14, 2013, the agriculture minister had told parliament after the prime minister had urged all to come forward to help the Rana Plaza victims that different government and non-government organisations and individuals, had donated Tk 127,67,33,349 to the fund, he said.

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