GDN: NONE of the families of 16 Indians who died in one of Bahrain's biggest disasters have received any compensation nearly five years after the tragedy. The victims were burned alive in a Gudaibiya labour camp as they slept at around 2.30am on July 30, 2006.
Around 200 others crammed into the three-storey building, used to house Royal Tower Construction workers, managed to escape.
Lawyer Mohammed Al Watani, who is acting on behalf of relatives of the victims, said six of the civil compensation cases were still not close to reaching a verdict.
"However, no money has been paid yet," Mr Al Watani told the GDN.
"The families of 10 of the victims, who were awarded between BD30,000 and BD45,000, have all been waiting since, but court procedures have meant (only) four cases have been finalised and that too with the compensation amount being substantially reduced.
"While they were earlier awarded between BD30,000 and BD45,000, they have now been given half that amount.
"We are, however, still waiting for the details of the final order since it has been passed only last month."
Mr Al Watani blamed the delays on repeated appeals by Bahraini labour camp owner Salah Abdul Latif Al Abdulla.
He said the appeals, coupled with delays in court procedures, could mean no one will get any money in the foreseeable future.
"There is nothing we can do since we are depending on procedures. We are part of this system," he added.
The lawyer earlier said judges asked for witnesses to prove that there had been a loss of income to families after their breadwinners died.
He said they were poor people who depended on incomes from the men and were suffering, but said lawyers were doing all they could to speed up the process in co-operation with the Indian Embassy.
Indian supervisor Mohammed Awresh Abdulrahman was jailed for two years in March 2007 after being found guilty of violating safety regulations at the labour camp.
He was convicted of manslaughter, causing unintentional injuries and violating labour accommodation safety laws, but appealed against the verdict at every stage including up to the highest legal authority available, the Cassation Court.
Mr Al Abdulla and Indian supervisor Nishat Nader Khan initially faced similar charges, but were cleared.
The GDN had earlier reported that the relatives of the 16 men were still trying to repay loans the victims took to pay for their Bahrain visas.
Among those affected was S Chinnadurai, who was forced to drop out of school at the age of 15 when his brother S Senthil perished in the blaze because his relatives could no longer afford to pay his school fees.
Another victim, Selvi, whose husband P Kumar was killed in the blaze, is understood to be working as a farm labourer earning just 200 fils a day.