Cost of a life at Bawana unit: Rs 200 a day

Delhi factory fire: Among those missing or dead: a mother of six, a daughter on her first day at work

Written by Abhishek Angad , Anand Mohan J | New Delhi | Updated: January 21, 2018 8:46:46 am
fire, delhi factory fire, bawana fire, Bawana Industrial Area, delhi fire, bawana factory fire, bawana factory fire deaths, Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Bawana on Saturday night. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Their family members either missing or confirmed dead, confused, angry and dumbfounded relatives gathered outside Maharishi Valmiki Hospital in Bawana on Saturday night. Forty-year-old Sunita, one of the two confirmed survivors so far, said she had started working at the unit two days ago: “I was getting Rs 6,000 per month… Rs 200 a day… I was packing gunpowder inside firecrackers when I noticed some smoke collecting. Someone said we should run, and I went to the top floor. People had started screaming by then, saying that jumping was our only option. So I jumped and fell unconscious. When I woke up, my leg was broken and I was in the hospital.”

Also at the hospital was Mahipal, who roamed aimlessly looking for his wife, Ram Devi. “Just 10 minutes before the incident, I spoke to her. She joined the unit six days ago, so she could make more money. I don’t know where she is.”

A father at the hospital walked around with his phone in hand, showing pictures of his daughter: “It was her first day at the factory; I don’t know if she is dead or alive.” Around 11.35 pm, relatives of the victims had a tiff with police personnel. As they kept demanding that they be showed the charred bodies, police had to push them outside the emergency department.

Baburam, looking for his 25-year-old sister Soni, said she was five months pregnant with her first child. This was her first job, he said. Vishwanath, who could not find his 35-year-old wife Kusuma, said she used to “fill gunpowder inside crackers”, and no one seemed to care that she was missing. “She is a mother of six children; all of them are asking about her.”

Ten-year-old Sudhir, whose mother is missing, said she had promised him firecrackers from the factory. His father said between tears: “She could be alive, I will go to another hospital to check.”

Dr Jitendra, the CMO casualty at the hospital, said they started receiving the bodies around 7 pm. “Seventeen bodies arrived… Some could be identified. DNA testing has to be conducted on the rest. Two people jumped and suffered fractures.”

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