Families of four workers killed in rubber factory fire are yet to get compensation

Close to two months after the accident in a rubber factory at Gagan Pahad, in which four workers met a gruesome end after hot oil spilled onto them from a leakage, the victims’ kin are yet to receive the compensation.

The employer, Akshita Rubber Factory, has not delivered on its promise of Rs.10 lakh per victim, and the Labour Department, whose responsibility it is to calculate the compensation payable, has not served notices on the employer so far, informed official sources.

Though the employer has, reportedly of his own volition, deposited Rs. 5 lakh to the Labour Department towards the compensation payable to the kin of one victim Jaikishen, there is no mention of the other three victims. “The amount was not as per the Workmen’s Compensation Act,” charged D. Ventakeshwarlu, City Secretary for OPRD, an organisation fighting for the labourers’ rights.

“We have not received any compensation yet, though Labour officials asked us to meet them. We have many debts to be repaid, and with one earning member gone, we are left in a helpless situation,” lamented Geeta, widow of Jaikishen.

Families of three other victims Joginder Choudhury, Sandeep Kumar Yadav and Naval Prasad Yadav have already returned to their respective places in Bihar. As per the Act, the immediate kin of the deceased workmen are entitled to 50 per cent of the actual wages or minimum wages whichever is higher, multiplied by the Relevant Factor based on victim’s age.

When contacted, Assistant Labour Commissioner Ravinder Reddy said details of the victims such as age and wages have been sought from the employer, and no reply has been furnished within the stipulated 30 days. However, for reasons best known to them, the officials have not taken any further action.

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