Compensation: Their long wait for ‘peanuts’
Every time a tragedy strikes the country, the government announces compensation that hardly covers the suffering and loss of people.
Sample this: Karan Poddar was just eight years old when he was killed in the serial blasts that rocked the city on October 29, 2005. The government valued his life at R4 lakh, which was released to his family as compensation.
In countries like the US, which suffered the biggest terror attack in the recent history — 9/11 —, the government gave the victims as much as $ 7 billion. The families of each victim got $1.8 million (R8.4 crore) as compensation.
Most foreign countries seem to be more sensitive towards their citizens and their sufferings. In 2006, Juana Leal, a middle-aged housewife lost her husband in the Madrid train bombings. The Spanish government gave her 1.5 million euros (around R9 crore).
"In foreign countries, the amount of compensation is decided by various factors. The standard of living and the money that the person was earning are also considered," RS Sodhi, former Delhi High Court judge, said.
"However, our government is not sensitive enough to understand these things."
For many other families who lost their loved ones to similar tragedies but could never trace the bodies, it is almost next to impossible to convince the authorities to prove their loss.
Sixtythree-year-old Bhagwan Dass, a retired Air India employee, lost two members of his family in the October 29 blasts. The sole breadwinner of the family also went missing." Our son Michael left a daughter behind. She can't get the compensation amount till the time she turns 18. How do we meet her daily expenses?" said Dass.
Nineteen-year-old Ramejeevan's family also met a similar fate. Ramejeevan, who picked up the bag containing a bomb outside a fruit juice shop where he was working on the fateful day, had come from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh.
"Last heard, Ramjeevan was seen pulling a rickshaw. The family did not get any compensation because he is still missing in police records," said social worker Ashok Randhawa.