To support his family, Mohammad Arman started working at a paper mill in the port city around four months ago.
His job was to collect waste and dump it into a brick furnace inside the mill. And rain or shine, the 19-year-old laboured through the strenuous job as a helper.
On Saturday, he was working the night shift. Around 4am, a part of the furnace caved in on him. Arman died on the spot, said police, adding that co-workers recovered his burnt body.
The same day, his family filed an unnatural death case with Chandgaon Police Station. Afterwards, they along with locals demonstrated in front of the mill, said Arman's father Mohammad Jahangir.
Authorities of the Asia Pacific Paper Mills Limited apparently did not waste any time in resolving the issue.
They signed a “deed of compromise” and paid Arman's family Tk 5.5 lakh in compensation that morning, said Jahangir. The deed mentioned that Arman's death was an accident and his father has no complaint in this regard.
When asked, Jahangir said, “My son is no more. What else can I say?”
'NEGLIGENCE BEHIND DEATH'
However, officials of fire service and civil defence, after inspecting the factory on Saturday, informed that the furnace was not maintained properly and the incident took place due to negligence of the authorities in taking proper safety measures.
“For installing such furnace inside a mill, the authorities need clearance from the fire department. They did not have any. Moreover, we could not find any proper safety protocol at the mill. They did not have sufficient fire extinguishers,” Jashim Uddin, assistant director of the department, told The Daily Star yesterday.
“The authorities should take necessary safety measures right away, otherwise more accidents could take place,” he said. “We will also request the district administration to look into the matter.”
This correspondent visited the mill yesterday and spoke to Muhammad Sharif Moon, general manager of the mill.
He said they were not informed of any such law. “Such ovens [furnaces] are regularly used in restaurants for baking. Do they need to take permission from the fire department?” asked Sharif.
He said they perform routine maintenance and inspection every six months, “but it was unfortunate that bricks fell off before the scheduled inspection”.
Investigation Officer Md Nur Mostafa, assistant sub-inspector of Chandgaon Police Station, said, “We are investigating the matter. Necessary actions will be taken against those responsible, regardless of who they are.”