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November 6, 2015

Body formed to probe factory collapse


November 6, 2015

The Punjab government Thursday constituted an inquiry committee to probe into Sundar factory collapse, Rajpoot Polyester, which claimed many lives.
The committee has been instructed to submit its report fortnight so that necessary actions should be taken against the officials responsible for the tragic incident at a time when the government is attempting to revive foreign investment in the province by organising an international seminar on available investment opportunities in the province.
The maiden meeting of the committee was held at Sundar Industrial Estate (SIE) office at SIE on Thursday night in which committee members discussed various aspects of collapse and issued instructions to departments concern to submit their findings to them.
According to a notification, secretary Industries, Commerce and Investment Department is the convener of the committee while Secretary Labor & Human Resource Department, Managing Director Nespak, Member Chief Minister Inspection Team, Chairman Civil Engineering Department of UET, Lahore, Muhammad Akram, Chief Town Planner, LDA, and Asrar Saeed, Chief Engineer, LDA, are the members of the committee.
The committee will investigate the causes of the incident and identify deficiencies in building control and occupational safety arrangements. The committee will also identify the agencies/person responsible for the incident, fix responsibility and recommend appropriate actions against the culprits. The inquiry committee is also assigned to submit its recommendations for averting recurrence of any such incident in future.
Sundar Industrial Estate is one the modern Industrial Estate of the Pakistan which was governed by Punjab Industrial Estates Development and Management Company (PIEDMC). The PIEDMC is a public private partnership company where major administrative control is in the hand of the prominent businessmen and industrialists of the province.
The tragic incident has exposed wrongdoings

being done by the private sector which is actually overlooking some basic security features while constructing their industrial units and factories. This also has raised questions about effectiveness of the PIEDMC and public private partnership and free hands to prominent businessmen and industrialists to run the affairs of the industrial estates and their attitude towards such government initiatives.
According to officials, approved certificates of the structural design and building control are attached in a file of the Rajpoot Polyester. They said it was surprising that if such certificates are issued then how the building is collapsed. They said there are some wrongdoings which resulted in the collapse of the building.
Secretary Industry, Punjab, Nabeel Javeed talking to The News said that the inquiry committee is constituted by the government which will try to submit its findings as early as possible. “We will look into all aspects of the building collapse and indentify the responsible as well suggestions to avert such incidents in future”, he said.
Attempts were made to get version of PIEDMC Chairman Industrialist SM Tanveer but he did not attend the phone.
Amir, cousin of General Manager Rajpoot Polyester Muhammad Bashir, informed that his deceased cousin had told her wife after the October 26, 2015 earthquake that the factory was badly jolted. Bashir also suggested late owner of the Rajpoot Polyester, Rana Ashraf, to stop construction of new floor and focus on maintenance and repair of the cracks appeared in the building after the earthquake, but he continued the construction.
Mian Numan Kabir, who also runs a factory of plastic manufacturing, said huge vibration develops when exclusion started in the process of heating in the polythene manufacturing unit. If the unit is using gas for heating purpose then both exclusion and vibration increase manifolds as almost ten gas burners on at a time under a machine for heating purpose. So, in the case of Rajpoot Polyester there are 37 machines were installed and if the owner was using gas burners for heating purpose then at a time 370 gas burners will be on. However, in case of heating through electricity the magnitude of vibration is low, he commented. So, when huge heating continued for a long time it weakens the structure, he said.
Numan, who is also a former member of the PIEDMC, raised questioned on the PIEDMC management who is collecting huge money from every industry operational, but unable to provide fire brigade and other equipment like bulldozers, ambulances, firefighting equipment and others on the premises of the SIE. He said if such facilities had been available there, the loss could have been reduced. He said all the management of the SIE was removed almost two months ago due to some wrongdoings and huge number of complaints by the SIE industrialists. AWP condemns Sundar incident

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