Devika Pradhan | Intern

Relatives of the 44-year-old deceased cook of Damphu Central School, who died after falling off the roof of an academic building on January 3, are questioning the safety measures used by the authorities concerned at the worksite.

The late cook, who is survived by his wife and three children, was collecting old timbers from the 18-foot tall academic building for kitchen renovation when he fell off the building.

While the relatives raise the question of the safety measures and personal protection equipment (PPE) used and implemented by the authorities concerned at the worksite, they are also asking why a cook, who was supposed to be on a break with the school closed, was involved in renovations.

“Someone should be held accountable,” a relative said.

Witnesses said that when the concerned authorities were questioned about the safety, and most importantly, why a cook was performing the work of a labourer, it was justified that the deceased joined his three co-workers who were already on top of the building. He stepped on a rotten ceiling board of the academic building, crashing down on the stairs below, causing severe head injuries.

The widow of the deceased said that she was bereft and left vulnerable to situations without a steady income. Her three children have yet to complete their education. The eldest son is a first-year college student in Bhutan and the youngest has completed her ninth standard.

Neighbours said that the wife of the deceased is a daily wage worker, taking up jobs on farms.

The school authority said that the misfortune was due to the unfortunate luck of the deceased. The school principal, who was away at a workshop during the incident, said that the workers were not supposed to climb onto the building.

“The school management did not assign the work to the cook, but he did it voluntarily. I had asked them to take safety precautions,” he said.

The dzongkhag administration and the school authority carried out the cremation on Wednesday.

The relatives did not file any formal complaints about the mishap.