‘File is being processed’: Blast victims wait for compensationOctober 1st, 2008 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) Eighteen days after the Sep 13 serial bombings in the capital killed 25 people and injured at least 100, much of the compensation announced by the government remains undistributed as officials cite “legal issues hindering the processing of cheques”. Of the three blast sites, Gaffar Market at Karol Bagh was the worst hit - 20 people were killed and 59 injured. Now, in a family that lost 10 members in that blast, feuds have broken out over who is to get the compensation.
The Delhi government had announced the next-of-kin of those killed would be given Rs.500,000 each and the injured would get Rs.50,000 each.
Gaffar Market is back to its usual bustle, but it cannot blanket the anguish of the Singh family at nearby lane No. 42, Beadonpura. Apart from the 10 family members killed, including two children, two more are still unconscious at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
“Although we received some cheques, compensation for medical costs and for four dead members has not reached us,” said Pappu, a member of the family. “They (officials) came and created a hullabaloo, with the district collector giving us a ‘card of promise’ at some fancy function.
“But when I and my other relatives went to the police and the additional district magistrate, Darya Ganj, he told us point blank - the file has not been processed - and sent us away.”
Asked how many compensation cheques had actually been given by the end of September, officials at the Darya Ganj District Revenue Office said that in the district “44 cheques to the injured had been given, and 10 had been given to the families of dead victims”.
Yash Pal Malhotra, district revenue officer, told IANS: “We are doing our level best to ensure that the money reaches victims. Medical bills from hospitals have not come, for us to compensate on those grounds. This particular (Singh) family is extensive, there are legal hassles.”
Malhotra explained: “For many of the injured in the family, medico legal certificates (MLCs) from the police at the time of admission in hospital have not been issued and unless we get them their cases can’t be processed. These are legal issues hindering the processing of cheques.
“In many cases there are multiple claimants to the compensation, and a policy catering to that has not been made. At a higher level they are working out whether to give the entire sum to one member or distribute it proportionately.”
Seated on a string cot on the roadside at Gaffar market, Gulab Singh 74, the oldest in the family that “lost everything” in the bombing, mumbled: “Life is surreal. My wounds are healing, and the stitches have gone, but scars will remain.” He was injured on his head and hand in the explosion.
Gulab Singh has not yet received any compensation for his own injuries. According to officials, this is because he was not issued an MLC when he was admitted to Jassaram Hospital. “Without that there is no case,” said one official.
Gulab’s grandniece Saroj, 45, lost her 25-year-old son Raju in the bomb blast. She is yet to receive the compensation that is now essential for the survival of her daughter and her ailing father. Her problem: her estranged husband Bikku also wants the money.
Saroj said: “The four young men in our family who died earned bread not only for themselves by selling electronic knick-knacks, but they brought food for the whole family.”
Pappu’s aunt, Sondeyi, 55, lost her son Ashok, grandson Kusum, daughter Saroj and her husband Harichand, leaving her to take care of her crippled daughter Yashoda, 17, and son Raj, 13.
Two cheques have reached her but she doesn’t know how to access the money. Adding to her anguish, intra-family feuds “are making life living hell”.
Sondeyi explained that her mutilated family was being further torn apart by greed: “My daughter-in-law Kamlesh fought with me. Her parents and brother took her and my eight-year-old granddaughter Simran away. I hear she has put Ashok’s money in her brother’s account. I don’t care for the money, but I want my little Simran safe.”