Deepkamal Kaur & Kusum Arora, Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, April 20. As officers from Bihar reached the site where Shital Fibres factory stood until last Sunday, hapless labourers fell at their feet, pleading for help in their hour of need.
Amar Chatterjee, Bihar’s Deputy Resident Commissioner in New Delhi, Jagmohan Mishra, Manager Bihar-I, and Kaushlendra, Labour Inspector, reached the disaster site this afternoon. They were surrounded by labourers, each trying to narrate his tale of woe.
Her hands folded, Pasho Devi, whose 18-year old son Pankaj is among those trapped under the debris, requested the officers: “Hamar bete ko bacha lijiye” (Please save my son).” She seemed hopeful that the officers would ask the ‘fauj’ (army) to locate her son at the earliest.
Chatterjee met Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti. He was told that at least 70 labourers were inside the factory at the time of the mishap. “The Bihar Government has announced an ex gratia of Rs 1 lakh for the next of kin and relief for the injured will be announced too.
“We have started preparing a list of those dead and injured and will stay here till the rescue work is over ”, he said, adding that the Bihar CM might visit Jalandhar soon.
On the issue of children working in the factory, Chatterji said: “This is the responsibility of the District labour Department to check if any child labourer was employed. As of now, we are concerned about those trapped under the debris”. Labour Inspector Kaushlendra interacted with the labourers and took their cell numbers so as to assist them in every possible way.