Man and his son among five workers succumb to burns

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TOBA TEK SINGH: Five out of the 12 workers, including a 12-yearold boy, who had suffered burns in a steam boiler explosion in a textile mills located on Sargodha Road near motorway M-4 at Faisalabad on April 20, succumbed to their injuries on 23rd April night and 24th April.

The deceased workers include a minor boy Salman (12), his father Fayyaz (40), residents of Bahawalnagar, Waseem (18) and Mustansar (24), both of Arifwala and Zunair (26) of Samundri. Seven other workers injured in the incident are still in serious condition in the burns unit of the Allied Hospital.

Reacting to the incident, Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) Chairman Baba Latif Ansari at a press conference on Wednesday, especially lamented death of the underage worker, Salman, saying it has exposed the blatant use of child labour in the textile industry.

He said health and safety measures were not being adopted in the industry and children were being used as labourers due to negligence of the labour welfare department officials.

Ansari quoted a labour department official as saying that child labour was common in the local textile industry.

The LQM leader alleged that to conceal the use of child labour in the textile unit where the blast occurred, the injured boy was admitted to the district headquarters (DHQ) hospital, instead of the Allied Hospital`s burns unit.

He also alleged that as the DHQ hospital had no burns unit, the boy succumbed to his injuries for lack of proper treatment, while his father Fayyaz. died at the Allied Hospital.

Demanding stern action against the millers who failed to ensure health and safety measures for workers, he urged Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz to order payment of ample compensation amounts to the heirs of five deceased workers of Sargodha mills, besides to the families of four other workers who had burnt alive in a fire incident last month in a textile mills.

He also demanded compensation for another worker who was burnt alive after falling into a furnace at a bricks kiln at Faisalabad recently.

Ansari also alleged that to avoid high cost of gas, many textile mills were using hazardous materials, including used clothes, remains of corn crop, wheat husk etc to heat boilers, putting at risk health and safety of 1.4 million workers employed in the sector.

He announced if the demands were not accepted, workers would stage a protest demo outside the Faisalabad DC office on May 1.

Meanwhile, the CM directed the authorities concerned to get the standard operating procedures (SOPs) strictly implemented to ensure workers` safety.

Expressing grief and sorrow over the loss of precious human lives due to a boiler explosion in Faisalabad, she said: `Action should be taken against all those factory owners who do not follow workers` safety guidelines.

She ordered an inquiry into the incident, and sought a report from the Faisalabad commissioner in this regard.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 25th April 2024.

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