The Ministry of Industries has fined Khwaja Ship Breaking Yard Tk 5 lakh, and banned the company – owned by the steel industry giant KSRM Group – from importing scrap ships for four months.
Located in the Chattogram’s Sitakunda area, the yard had an accident on September 29 this year which resulted in the death of a worker named Mohammad Taslim, 30. The ministry move came following an investigation into the incident, insiders told The Business Post.
Taslim, who hailed from Sitakunda, worked as a winch operator at the yard.
In a letter issued last week, the industries ministry also banned the yard from locally sourcing scrap ships during the four-month period, and recommended that the investigation officer submit updates about the yard’s progress in implementing safety measures.
Speaking to The Business Post, industries ministry’s Deputy Secretary (Ship Recycling) Mizanur Rahman said, “Actions have been taken in response to various issues prevalent in that shipyard. Departments concerned have also been informed about the matter.”
The KSRM authorities recently changed the name of this yard to “Kabir Group Ship Recycling Facility.”
Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Sitakunda Mohammad Shahadat Hossain said appropriate action has been taken following the instructions of higher authorities to tackle a case of accident at the shipyard.
He also claimed to have no information about the signboard change at the Khwaja Shipyard.
On the matter, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments’ Deputy Inspector General Abdullah Al Sakib Mobarrat said he too is not aware about the renaming of Khwaja Ship Breaking Yard.
At least 10 workers have died in Khwaja Ship Breaking Yard since 2015, which is the highest number of casualties at a single such establishment.
The Ministry of Industries had imposed bans on this yard two times in the past, but deaths by accidents continued to occur due to a lack of proper safety measures.
Recent media reports show that the KSRM is also facing allegations of evading nearly Tk 231 crore in VAT.
On June 22, based on a tip off, a team of Customs Excise and VAT Commissionerate raided KSRM Steel Plant Ltd in Ghoramara area of Sitakunda Upazila, seizing documents and two computer CPUs.
The authorities later filed a case against KSRM after reviewing data on computers and reports of annual sales, purchases and chartered accountancy firms seized during the drive.