SBCA, labour dept accountable for Korangi factory fire: Court

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A Karachi court has suggested the police name the Sindh Building Control Authority and Labour and Human Resource Department in the Korangi factory fire case.

“It will be injustice with the grieving families if the departments are not held accountable,” it remarked.

Last month, 17 labourers were killed in a fire that erupted at a factory in Korangi’s Mehran Town. A case was registered against the factory’s owners and manager under sections of murder.

At a hearing, the prosecution presented the final investigation report in court. “It has been proven that the factory was built on a residential plot without permission from SBCA and the labour department.”

In all these years, not even once did someone from the departments visit the factory, the judge said.

“This clearly shows the performance of KMC.”On Wednesday, the court remanded factory owners, Hassan Ali Mehta and Faisal Tariq, and manager Imran Zaidi into police custody for three days.

It ruled that there were no emergency exits in the factory. “The door of the roof was locked which led to the fatalities.”

The suspects were arrested outside court on Tuesday after their bail was cancelled.

According to the suspects’ lawyer Hassan Sabir, Mehta suffered a heart attack last night. Consequently, the court ordered the police to ensure him provision of all medical facilities.

The blaze started at 10:08 am on August 27. There were no emergency exits doors and it took nine hours to extinguish the fire. The workers died by suffocation due to a lack of arrangements.

The blaze started on the first floor. Fire teams used snorkels and cranes to rescue workers from the second floor of the factory. The door to the roof of the factory was shut which led to high fatalities.

On August 30, a petition seeking judicial proceedings against the factory owners was filed in the Sindh High Court.

It stated that the factory was built on a residential plot. It didn’t have any precautionary measures for fire incidents, nor did it have any fire exits or equipment such as extinguishers.

 

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