Sheema Oxygen to pay blast victims' families Tk 1m each

Meanwhile, the panel investigating the deadly explosion are seeking two more days to submit its report

Published : 10 March 2023, 09:38 AM
Updated : 10 March 2023, 09:38 AM

Sheema Oxygen Limited will pay Tk 1 million each in compensation to the families of those who were killed by an explosion at a factory in Chattogram’s Sitakunda.

The company agreed to increase the amount of compensation to the injured and the families of the dead following a meeting with the district administration on Thursday.

The panel probing the incident, however, has sought a two-day extension of the deadline to submit its report.

On Wednesday, Sheema Oxygen said it would pay Tk 200,000 to each family in line with the labour law. The company had already deposited the amount to the Labour Court on Tuesday.

But the district administration pressured the company to increase the amount.

“They deposited Tk 200,000 to the Labour Court to compensate each family of the dead, but the deputy commissioner insisted that they pay Tk 1 million, just as BM Depot had done,” said Sitakunda Upazila Executive Officer Md Shahadat Hossain.

“Later, they agreed and gave us cheques worth Tk 800,000 for each family. We already handed over the cheques to four families yesterday.”

Also, the two workers who lost their legs and eyes will receive Tk 500,000 each in compensation. Other injured workers will receive Tk 200,000 each to cover their medical expenses.

“The injured will continue to get their salaries and other allowances until they return to work. After recovering, they can resume their work in the factory if they are willing to. Sheema Oxygen assured that the workers would retain their jobs," said UNO Shahadat Hossain.

“Anyone from the families of the dead can get a job if they want,” he said.

On Mar 4, a horrific blast tore through Sheema Oxygen's plant in Sitakunda, leaving at least seven people dead and around other 25 injured.

Following the explosion, it was reported that the factory was run by two diploma engineers and a supervisor from a liberal arts background.

The owners claimed the company to be compliant with rules and regulations, but government authorities said they found irregularities at the Sheema Oxygen plant during a previous visit. The factory did not have the necessary environmental clearance, fire safety plan, or boiler licence.

In the wake of the incident, a seven-strong probe committee was formed with a mandate of submitting its findings. “The committee has almost completed the task, but it required the assistance of an applied chemistry teacher from Chattogram University to clear up some technical issues,” said UNO Shahadat.

The Sheema Oxygen plant halted operations after the blast, he added.