TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Probe ordered into the death of 23 workers
Itook the death of 23 workers to make the Punjab government order a safety audit of the state’s factories. The victims, migrant labourers from Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh, were killed when the four-storied Shital Fibres, a high-end blanket manufacturing unit, came crashing down around midnight on April 16. Securitymen rescued 75 workers. Around a 100 men were working on the night of the collapse, in which 42 were injured. Two are still missing. The state government has announced Rs 3 lakh for the dead and Rs 65,000 for those seriously injured. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal directed Punjab Industries Secretary Achru Ram Talwar to conduct a safety audit of all factories. “We want to ascertain both latent and patent defects in industrial structures,” he said.
The factory was operating without licence. The unit reportedly did not have the stability certification. Yet, it was given a power connection by Punjab State Power Corporation Limited. Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner Anurag Verma, heading the probe, has questioned the role of four labour department officers. The probe will test the government’s resolve to punish the guilty.
THE COLLAPSED FACTORYIN JALANDHAR