Savar death toll crosses 700

Rescuers on Tuesday found more bodies from the debris of the collapsed Rana Plaza, taking the death toll to 715. According to sources, 552 bodies have already been handed over to victims’ families, while 42 have been kept in the Savar Adhar Chandra Model High School playground. Some of the bodies are now at the morgues of Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Salimmullah Medical College Hospital. The rest were buried at the city’s Jurain graveyard. A number of people were seen waiting in front of the collapsed building, holding placards with photographs of their near and dear ones. So far, 2,437 people have been rescued from the rubble. Of them, nine succumbed to their injuries in different hospitals.
The rescue work may continue for another week. The second phase of the rescue operation, deploying heavy equipment, continued for the eighth successive day on Tuesday. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Fire Service and the Red Crescent Society are carrying out this phase of the rescue operation.
Readymade garment (RMG) workers who survived the Rana Plaza collapse, along with relatives of the dead workers, blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar for nearly two hours on Tuesday morning, demanding payment of dues and perks. The blockade was withdrawn at around 12 noon after Sheikh Yusuf Harun, deputy commissioner of Savar, assured them that their dues would be paid at the Bish Mile army ground from 3 pm.
Savar model police station inspector Aminur Rahman said traffic remained suspended suspended on the highway during the blockade.
Earlier, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) had assured the RMG workers that their dues would be paid within May 7. However, at a press briefing on Monday, the apex apparel lobby said it would not be able to clear the dues on Tuesday as they were yet to get the complete list of workers.
Atiqul Islam, president of the BGMEA, said they have received the list of workers of only two factories, out of the five that were housed in the collapsed building. He added that the dues would be paid after they get the list of the people working at the three other factories. Of the two factories, New Wave Apparels had 1,543 workers and New Wave Bottoms 598.
Shafiqul Islam, quality inspector of New Wave Bottoms, told The Independent: “The BGMEA is trying to wash its hands of its responsibility by paying only one month’s salary. But we want four months’ pay and other perks under the layoff facilities entitled under the rules. Workers of the Tazreen Fashions received their entire benefits after the factory was burnt to ashes last year.”

-With The Independent input

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