Shree Cement factory tragedy was man-made says farmers’ leader

The under-construction stockpile shed that collapsed at Shree Cement factory near Kodli village in Sedam taluk, Kalaburagi district.

The under-construction stockpile shed that collapsed at Shree Cement factory near Kodli village in Sedam taluk, Kalaburagi district.  

‘Proper safety measures were not in place before construction commenced’

Maruti Manpade, farmers’ leader and president of Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha (KPRS), alleged that the tragedy at under-construction cement factory of Shree Cement Ltd. near Kodla village in Sedam taluk, in which six labourers were killed last Thursday, was a result of negligence on the part of the company.

Speaking to media representatives after visiting the accident site and the labourers’ colony on Sunday, the farmers’ leader said proper safety measures were not taken before commencing the construction.

“It is a clear case of criminal negligence on the part of Shree Cement Ltd. They sent workers without putting in place proper safety mechanisms on the construction site. The workers who witnessed the tragedy themselves spoke about the absence of safety mechanisms and precautionary measures,” he said and demanded a thorough enquiry into the incident.

When asked about the Deputy Commissioner’s order for investigation into the incident, Mr. Manpade said that the Deputy Director of Department of Factories, Boilers, Industrial Safety & Health, who the investigation was assigned to, was unfit for the task. “Considering his track record, we can say that there are good chances that he would connive with company management. The Deputy Commissioner needs to appoint another competent authority to probe the incident,” he said.

After visiting the labourers’ colony and interacting with the workers, Mr. Manpade said that Shree Cement Ltd. had violated all labour laws in force and forced the workers to work under hazardous conditions.

“The labourers’ accounts clearly show that there were unfair labour practices in the company. The labourers’ are forced to work 12 hours a day. The working conditions were hazardous and living conditions in the colony are unhygienic. It is clear that concerned labour officers never visited the under-construction factory site to ensure labourers’ safety and labour laws’ implementation,” he said.

He demanded that the factory increase the compensation amount announced for the families of the dead workers from ₹12 lakh to ₹25 lakh and pay wages to workers for all the days that the workers were asked not to report to the duty after the incident. He also demanded that the government withdraw all the cases filed on workers after they staged a demonstration outside Shree Cement Ltd. holding the factory authorities responsible for the death of their colleagues.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 10:37:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/shree-cement-factory-tragedy-was-man-made-says-farmers-leader/article24618230.ece

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