Her emotional scars may have healed, but the indelible mark left by the railway authorities will remain forever etched in 27-year-old Amruta Karambelkar’s mind.
Seven years after 7 explosions ripped through seven suburban trains on the Western line, killing 186 people, Amruta is crying foul over the job offer made to her by railway authorities, following her father Parag Karambelkar’s death in the blasts.
A Law graduate, Malad resident Amruta was offered a class-IV job. She refused the offer, as the post offered to her was that of a peon or helper.
“She was doing her graduation when she was offered the job. We were compelled to refuse it because it was a class-IV job,” said Amruta’s mother Subhashree. Amruta is now an LLB graduate and working with a law firm in the city.
Many other blast victims’ kin faced a similar predicament, and shunned the offer simply because the job profile did not suit their educational qualifications.
According to Western Railway (WR) officials, they tried to ensure that all applicants were given a job, further stating they have succeeded in recruiting around 73 persons who lost their loved ones in the serial blasts. 60 people, however, either refused to take the jobs or couldn’t be contacted by the rail authorities, said a railway official.
Kirit Somaiya, BJP leader who is actively helping the blast victims’ kith and kin, said on his website: “The railway authorities came out with a circular that jobs only in D-grade shall be provided. There are many who are highly qualified professionals and were offered the lowest jobs. Few took the job as they were left with no other option, but there are many still struggling for rehabilitation.”
Harshad Shah (62), who damaged his ears and had fractured his ribs, was not as lucky as the others who got medical help and compensation from the railway authorities. “I asked for the medical help from the railways, but didn’t get any response. After which I had to spend from my own pocket which amounted to over Rs 1 lakh in medical expenses.” Shah received only Rs 40,000 as compensation from the railway authorities.
According to WR officials, they have spent around Rs 25 crore for the rehabilitation of the blast victims, which includes the ex-gratia, compensation and also the medical expenses. Of which nearly Rs 22 crore have been disbursed to the kin of the deceased and injured persons. Nitin David, senior PRO, CR, said, “We have tried to pay all the compensation and provided medical help to the injured persons.”