Braveheart DTC bus driver awaits 2005 blasts compensation, blames DikshitOctober 24th, 2008 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) He does not for a moment regret his supremely brave act of throwing out a ticking bomb from the bus window and saving over 50 lives, losing his eyesight in the blast that followed seconds later. But, DTC bus driver Kuldeep Singh does feel hurt that three years later he is made to run from pillar to post to get the promised medical compensation and that Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit chooses to “ignore” him. Surviving on a meagre salary of Rs.8,500 that he draws as vehicle examiner at the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) Shadipur depot in west Delhi, 36-year-old Singh says life is tough for him, his wife and three-old-year son.
“I am proud of what I have done. But some times I really fight within and feel cheated when I have to run from pillar to post to get the promised medical compensation announced by Dikshit.”
On Oct 29, 2005, a few days before Diwali, three blasts ripped through the national capital and killed at least 65 people.
Singh, then a DTC bus driver, spotted a bomb inside his bus and picked it up to throw it outside. His bravery and presence of mind saved the lives of over 50 people but took away his vision completely.
His right hand was severely burned and he cannot even hear anything in his right ear.
“Today I am forced to borrow money from others to buy necessities. Still I have no regrets of picking up the bomb and throwing it away at a safe distance,” Singh, clad in light blue kurta pyjama, told IANS in his two-bed room apartment.
“I have saved the lives of 50-60 passengers and saved the bus costing Rs.1.8 million. God forbid, had all the passengers been killed, the government would have had to give compensation of Rs.50,000 each to their families,” he said in a heavy voice.
“A government job is good for nothing. It is difficult to survive with this meagre salary, and this too was only raised last month because of the Sixth Pay Commission. Earlier I used to get only Rs.6,800. You can understand how we would be surviving when I have to foot bills on treatment of my son and myself,” he said.
“Do they (government) have any idea how many families would have lost their breadwinners. I am not asking all this money. But I am hurt. The promises meant to us are still to be fulfilled. They gave me a permanent job in DTC after the blast. My wife and I were promised that the home given to us is part of the reward.”
“But we are still paying the house rent. On Jan 25, 2007 Dikshit honoured me with Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and promised me that I would be given the required amount towards the expenditure incurred on the treatment of my eyes at Hyderabad hospital,” he said.
Singh said he has visited Hyderabad 11 times so far and spent Rs.250,000 on his treatment. “In February last year, I submitted the bills and after some time I was given a sum of Rs.63,000. Since then, no further payment has been made to me. Whenever I ask the government officials, they say my file is moving.”
“I even went to meet Dikisht along with my wife and two other people demanding the compensation amount. But she just overlooked us and casually directed his personal assistant to look into my grievances. But I am still waiting,” he said wiping his eyes with his right hand which still bears the scars of wounds received that fateful day three years ago.
“Had these politicians lost their loved ones in the blast, they would have realised the pain and apathy. These senseless people only know about playing politics.”
Singh has now only one wish - to be able to see his son growing up.