Apathy written all over

IN TWO years since Rana Plaza collapsed, the action that the government has taken about the compensation for the families of deceased workers and for the wounded, the investigation of the cases filed against people and quarters responsible for the disaster and other relevant issues only betrays the incumbents’ insincerity towards the poor working class people. The building, which housed five clothing factories, collapsed on April 24, 2013, leaving at least 1,130, mostly female apparel workers, dead; there have also been 2,500 others workers maimed and grievously wounded. A review of two years of action that the government initiated points to, as New Age reported in four pieces on Friday, nothing of worth for the victims, deceased or alive, and their families in terms of their sustenance, medical considerations included, and rehabilitation.
Part of the government action, along with international efforts, concerning worker safety in the apparel sector, however, gets going beyond the public eye which, often embroiled in mismanagement and decisions taken in favour of the apparel factory owners, sometimes hog the headlines. The government action in furthering the sustenance of the victims and their families by way of compensation and rehabilitation and in stopping the recurrence of such disasters in future by way of speedy and fair trial of the people responsible is hardly visible. In two years, the victims or their families have not been paid the compensation in full; there are cases that the victims are still unaware of the amount they would receive in damages. As for trial and investigation in about a dozen cases, nothing appears to have so far progressed. The Criminal Investigation Department, which is investigating two of the cases, has not been given permission to file cases against seven government officials the police think should have been prosecuted. All this points to the government’s eagerness to save the government officials responsible for the disaster, ultimately instilling a sense of impunity in government officials in case of probable such incidents in the future. Such government apathy, to the poor working class people, can also be noticed in its attitude towards the rehabilitation of the victims.
In light of all that happened, it is imperative for the government only to get down to work, vigorously, in giving the victims and their families the compensation in full, in rehabilitating them in one way or the other so that the families can sustain themselves and in bringing the people responsible for the disaster to justice, with effectively demonstrative punishment so that such disasters, where some people have proven role than the provenance, do not recur in the future, and that too shrugging off its class predisposition and rising above partisan line. For all this not to happen in future, the government should also ensure true trade unionism in the apparel sector so that workers could voice their concern about themselves and work as a deterrent factor in their rights being ignored.

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