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Indian construction worker to be buried in Dubai

One of three workers who died in a building construction accident at the weekend will be buried in the emirate, rather than his homeland of India.

A worker who died when scaffolding at a construction site collapsed last weekend could be buried as early as today in Dubai.

Mohammed Javed Jafar Pawte, 30, of Rajasthan, India, was one of three construction workers who died as a result of the accident at Dubailand on the Dubai-Al Ain road on Saturday morning.

Irfan Pawte, a cousin of Mr Pawte, said he would be buried in the emirate, rather than in his homeland.

"We have got a letter from his family agreeing for his burial in Dubai," Irfan Pawte said yesterday. "The body will not be transported to India."

He said his cousin's employer, Al Qandeel Contracting, has promised full compensation.

"It would be a big support to the family," he said yesterday, adding that the burial might take place today or tomorrow after police handed over the body.

Scaffolding collapses claimed the lives of four construction workers over the weekend - three in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. More than a dozen were injured.

High winds and rain were initially said to be the cause of the accidents, but health and safety officials have since blamed site managers.

Mr Pawte and Fajlul Kareem Abdul Ghani of Bangladesh, died at the scene in Dubai. Siraj Mia, also of Bangladesh, died the following day Rashid Hospital. The site engineer and labour supervisor at the Dubai site were charged on Sunday with criminal negligence.

There were 200 labourers on the site when the accident happened. Mr Pawte, who worked for the past 20 months as a mason, had two daughters and a son, and was from a part of Rajasthan known as Thuru, near Jaipur.

Another cousin of Mr Pawte, who also worked at the construction site, spoke yesterday about what he remembered from the accident.

"I was working on the eighth floor when the scaffolding suddenly crumbled," said Mohammed Javed, 28, who sustained hand injuries. "There was a big sound, and within seconds I fell to the ground writhing in pain. I don't remember anything after that."

Mr Javed also said it is sheer luck that he survived.

"Thank God I am alive," he said. "My cousin was unlucky and he died on the spot. Falling from the eighth floor and surviving is a miracle. I am thankful to God for saving me."

He said he has yet to inform his immediate family of the accident.

Mr Javed said he has been working as a mason for Al Qandeel contracting company for more than a year.

The engineer Nader Ali, project manager for Adnan Saffarini consultants, said that two people remain in critical condition.

"Three people have been discharged from the hospital while others are in stable condition," he said yesterday.

Mr Ali said work remains suspended at the Dubai site as the contractors are waiting for the investigations to be completed. He also said that only eight workers were taken to the hospital, not nine as reported by police.

A spokesman for Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, which is responsible for the building, said the relevant authorities were investigating and the authority was working closely with them.

Friday's scaffolding collapse in Abu Dhabi was the second in two days at a residential building under construction next to the Euro apartment hotel on Muroor Road. The scaffolding fell from the sixth floor because it was not secured firmly enough and was bearing excessive weight, said Col Ibrahim Al Zaabi, the head of Alshabiya police station.

On Monday, two senior building-site employees at the Abu Dhabi site were arrested on suspicion of negligence after a man died when scaffolding fell on top of him.

Dubai Municipality refused to comment yesterday.

frahman@thenational.ae

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