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Delhi factory blaze: Safety was never a priority, say employees

On the night of the fire, the factory owner allegedly made them work beyond the 12-hour shift -- a violation of the Factories Act. “Usually groups of three work through the night. We are paid Rs 200 for the 12-hour shift,” said Pawan Kumar (30), who had worked the morning shift.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
April 18, 2018 8:18:23 pm
The fire is believed to have started from the electricity meter. (Abhinav Saha) The fire is believed to have started from the electricity meter. (Abhinav Saha)

Employees at the factory in southwest Delhi’s Nawada Industrial Area that caught fire Tuesday said safety was never a priority there. “The owner never provided us gloves or goggles. I don’t expect them to give poor people equipment for safety,” said Dheeraj Kr Singh, 38.

On the night of the fire, the factory owner allegedly made them work beyond the 12-hour shift — a violation of the Factories Act. “Usually groups of three work through the night. We are paid Rs 200 for the 12-hour shift,” said Pawan Kumar (30), who had worked the morning shift.

Labourers said they worked around press machines without protective gear, and wearing loose clothing. “Our supervisor, Sonu, would also change faulty wires once every month,” said Pawan Kumar.

The factory floor was occupied by machines and packaged items blocking exit routes. “There are no staircases or windows,” said Rajeev, another employee.

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