China Railway Group Limited (CREC), the contractor of Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, said a few disgruntled local workers who were stopped from re-entering the isolated shelter camps of the project for breaking the isolation protocol had organised the protest on May 6.
"To avoid further escalation, some Bangladeshi security guards tried to maintain order. Facing the agitated workers, one of the guards opened his shotgun to the sky to deter the crowd. Eight workers were unfortunately left with scratches, bruises, and other minor injuries during the chasing and accidental shooting," said CREC in a press release on Thursday.
The wounded were shifted to local hospitals for treatment, said the CREC regretting the incident and hoped injured workers would recover soon.
Explaining the matter, the CREC said that on the verge of the coronavirus pandemic, it undertook multiple steps to accommodate the well-being of the 4,742 local workers of the project and to keep the implantation of the project uninterrupted in the current unusual situation.
It constructed 86 temporary shelters along the 170 km's route of the project for the local workers so that they could stay in isolation from the nearby villages.
The CREC is bearing the costs of food and shelter of the workers while the workers had to pay such costs on their own before they moved to those shelters.
Moreover, all the workers who are willing to stay in the shelter camps are given an extra allowance of proper amounts per day.
With such arrangements, the execution of the project remained uninterrupted while the exposure of the workers to the risks of Covid-19 could be avoided, it said.
"Initially, the workers were reluctant to shift. But within a short time, they found it much safer to stay in those isolated camps than in the neighbouring villages and therefore most of them have chosen to move in.
"Unfortunately, at around 9pm on May 6, in Mawa camp where around 500 local workers are staying, the disgruntled workers gathered and complained that the temporary allowances are insufficient.
"At present, the situation in the camp in Mawa has been brought back to normal while the rest 85 camps remain in their normal condition.
"CREC always follows local laws and regulations and tries to give back to the local societies. In the meantime, we request the Government of Bangladesh to take practical measures to ensure the legitimate rights and safety of our personnel and prevent such incidents from happening again," reads the press release.