CM announces ₹10 lakh ex gratia for deceased’s families

NDRF personnel carrying out rescue and relief operations at the Mundka building a day after a massive fire killed at least 27 persons, in Delhi on Saturday.

NDRF personnel carrying out rescue and relief operations at the Mundka building a day after a massive fire killed at least 27 persons, in Delhi on Saturday. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited Mundka on Saturday morning and announced a compensation of ₹10 lakh to the families of all those who lost their lives and ₹50,000 to those injured in the fire tragedy.

The Delhi government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and Mr. Kejriwal promised “the strictest possible punishment for the culprits”.

The BJP and the Congress, however, demanded more compensation for those hit by the tragedy and questioned the efficiency of the Delhi Fire Service (DFS). Workers’ rights groups raised concerns over unregulated working conditions and expressed fears of further deregulation once new labour codes were implemented.

“I am deeply pained and anguished to see the tragedy that has transpired at this complex in Mundka. We are all trying to rescue as many lives as possible. The fire was so devastating that it has become difficult to identify some of the bodies,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

DNA testing

“We have set up a DM helpdesk at the site to aid those filing missing reports and will identify the bodies through FSL DNA testing as well,” he added.

Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri demanded that the incident be investigated under the chairmanship of a sitting judge of the High Court. He also sought an inquiry into the late arrival of fire tenders and the violation of fire clearance norms by the building owners and the units operating in it.

Mr. Bidhuri demanded a compensation of ₹1 crore each for the next of the kin of deceased victims, in addition to a government job for one person from the family.

“It should be investigated why the fire brigade arrived late. While the information about the incident was given at 4.40 p.m., people present at the spot said the fire tenders reached an hour later. The police had to carry out the rescue operation with the help of local people. By the time the fire brigade arrived, the blaze had spread,” Mr. Bidhuri said. Responding to the BJP leader’s comment, Delhi FIre Service chief Atul Garg said since the area is congested, traffic was a major reason for the delay.

Mr. Bidhuri also said that the fire personnel did not have enough hydraulic cranes to rescue the trapped people. “After all, what steps has the Delhi government taken to modernise the fire service? What action was taken by the Fire Department for the building not having fire clearance?” he asked.

Chairman of Delhi Congress Communications Department and ex-MLA Anil Bhardwaj demanded that the families of those who died in the fire tragedy be given a compensation of ₹25 lakh and those injured be given ₹5 lakh each.

“The compensation announced by Delhi Chief Minister is too little, which will not even cover the bare expenses of the families of the dead and the treatment and rehabilitation of the injured, respectively,” Mr. Bhardwal said.

Workers’ concerns

In a statement, the Delhi chapter of Working Peoples’ Coalition, a group of organisations representing informal sector workers, said the fire at the Mundka building was shocking.

“Most of those working in that building were young women workers. The massive blaze, which engulfed a four-storey building in Delhi’s Mundka on Friday, began in a factory on the premises that did not have a No Objection Certificate from the Fire Department. Even worse, the owners did not apply for one. WPC condemns this culpable homicide which occurred due to State negligence and ignorance,” the statement read.

The unit produced electronic equipment without facing any inspections. This was not an isolated incident but the tip of the iceberg, it said.

“The safety of Indian workers is systematically being increasingly jeopardised, as they are forced to make their living working for such firms that have been flourishing and carrying out their production without minimum safety measures,” the WPC said.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2022 5:06:31 pm |