Saturday, 20 January 2018

In Bawana Blaze, Criminal Capitalism Claims 17 Lives

- Rajesh Tyagi/ 21.1.2018

The fire that broke out in a three storeyed factory at Bawana industrial area in North of Delhi late evening around 6 pm yesterday, has taken its toll at 17 out of which 10 are women, while few other injured workers grapple for life in hospital.

13 out of 17 had died on the first floor of the factory, 3 on ground floor and one in basement. A mother of six and a young girl on her first day job are amongst the victims of the blaze.

The factory was licenced for plastic manufacture and storage, but it was illegally indulged for long in outlawed business manufacture and storage of hazardous firecrackers. A rubber factory at the second floor of the building has made it a real death trap.

No fire extinguishers were installed in any of the factories. No arrangements were made for alternative escape routes. Factories were operating without compliance of any labour laws or even a fire licence.

This however is not a stray incident. Far from being an exception, such illegal business is a norm in and around Delhi. Right under the nose of police and civil authorities, who support such illegalities to grease their palms out of the booty, such illegal business remains rampant, despite all legal prohibitions. Stringent laws and Court decisions in this regard become only additional tools in the hands of callous bureaucracy to milk the business for more bribes. It is not that law makers and Courts are not aware of these widespread violations, but they really turn deaf ears to the same.

Manoj Jain, one of the two owners of the factory, is told to be close aide to Satyender Jain, the Industry Minister of AAP Government, while his partner is associated with BJP.

The Labour department, one of the most corrupt state organs in Delhi, and an outright stooge of industry owners, is under the AAP Government of Arvind Kejriwal. Fire department, another bastion of corruption, is also under the Delhi Government. Police department, another den of corruption, is in the hands of BJP. Municipal Corporation is also under the BJP. All these organs are directly responsible to regulate the industry and curb the illegal activities. But all of them join hands to permit the running of nefarious, illegal and outlawed business of all hues.

Workers who were killed in the factory had been working under sweatshop conditions for a meager rupees 200 or even less per day. Most of the workers are poor migrant workers coming from eastern UP and chose to work in such predatory conditions to evade hunger and devastation.

No lesson is learnt even from the past where dozens were charred to death due to illegal industrial and business activities. April 29, 2011 was witness to such fire in a shoe factory at Peeragarhi that took toll upon 10 workers. The blaze in paper products factory in Begumpur was another incident that claimed five lives. More recently a godown in Nihal Vihar was engulfed in fire on December 12, 2017, claiming few lives. Before that July 11, 2017 saw another fire in unit at Dilshad Garden.

After such incidents, authorities indulge in all sorts of cover-up through demagogy and promises, but none to implement.

Similar tragedy in Uphaar Cinema had invited the wrath of the law makers, Courts and bureaucracy as the victims included many from the elite layers. But dozens of similar incidents that have killed poor workers fell on deaf ears of the law makers the courts and the authorities.

Far from being any accidents, as is often claimed by hirelings of the system, such incidents are deadly by-products of operation of capitalism, that includes complacence and callousness of the bureaucracy, in all backward peripheries of the world. Misfortune is reserved for poorest of the poor of workers who are forced to submit to abominable working conditions to keep their body and soul together, while the elite owners, politicians, police and bureaucrats share the booty.

Capitalism and its criminal state is primarily responsible for such incidents. All successive bourgeois governments, irrespective of their party affiliations, have overseen and facilitated the corrupt system to work. They all have worked zealously to keep capitalism and its exploitative regime in place.

The owners of the business, factories and industries, are directly or indirectly affiliated to bourgeois leaders and parties and remain at the helm of the state power. Workers and toilers continue to become casualties under the axe of this nexus between the business and the state, the two pillars of the power of elites.

The way forward is not to appeal to the state or the authorities that are handmaids of the rich and the elites but to overthrow their power and drive them out. Advanced elements of the youth and workers must fight for this aim through mobilising around the sole revolutionary program of Permanent Revolution and its party-WSP.

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