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Employer finally pays compensation to victim’s family

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Iqbal, 26, was working in an under construction building of Rupayan Palace at 368, Section-10, Senpara Parbata, Mirpur in Dhaka.

Iqbal was injured critically as he suddenly fell down from the 13th floor of the building at about 12noon on May 21, 2007.

Co-workers rushed him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead at 1:15pm.

In the meantime, based on a report on the incident published in the Daily Samokal on January 22, 2007, a team of Safety and Rights [the then Bangladesh Worker Safety Programme] visited Rupayan Palace on May 22, 2008 to investigate into the incident but no one of the victim’s family was traced. The guards and supervisor of Rupyan Palace did not provide any information and even their own names as saying they were not recruited during the accident. No relative and co-worker of Iqbal was found on the spot as the construction work of the building was seen completed during the investigation.

Even, when contacted over phone, Senior GM of Rupayan Colonel (retd) Ataur Rahman claimed that the compensation was provided to the victim’s family through its sub contactor. But he denied showing documents in this regard without police permission.

Later, two letters--one on June 3, 2008 and another on July 28, 2008-- were sent to the managing director of the Rupayan Housing Estate to know about the incident and the compensation but the company did not response.

So, another team contacted with the family after visiting Iqbal village home at Char Ghoshpur village of Pabna Sadar upazila and came to know that Iqbal has four dependants---his Naser Mandal, mother Beli Khatun, wife Rita Khatun and their daughter Nupur Khatun.

Iqbal’s family informed the team that the company gave them Tk 30,000. The family was informed that if any worker dies due to any workplace accident, the victim worker’s family gets Tk 1 lakh as per the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006. They were also informed that if they want rest of the money [Tk 70,000] from the employer, Safety and Rights [the then Bangladesh Worker Safety Programme] will provide legal support free of cost. As they sought legal help, a case was filed with First Labour Court of Dhaka for compensation on December 12, 2008.

The court gave a verdict on May 4, 2009 directing the company to pay the rest of the compensation money of Tk 70,000 to the dependants of Iqbal.

Iqbal’s family later received Tk 70,000 from Rupayan Housing Estate. After receiving the money, Iqbal’s father Naser Mandal at Safety and Rights office said, “I will deposit Tk 50,000 against his two-and-half-year-old grandchild, Nupur, to any bank for the little baby’s security.” Safety and Rights later came to know that the money was fixed deposited for Nupur.

Source: SRS-O Investigation-3, victim’s family members and case documents.