Four months ago, a carpenter working on the reality show 'Bigg Boss - Saath 7' passed away due to cardiac arrest. Since then, his family has been waiting for compensation from the production house but to no avail.
A source says that 50-year-old Ramesh Maurya, who worked as a carpenter, passed away on September 8 last year at a hotel in Lonavla, where the crew was put up. “While working on the sets of the show, Ramesh felt nauseous after which he headed back to his room and died later on the same day. Since his death, the family has been in touch with the production house Endemol in a bid to get compensation,” says the source.
Opender Chanana, a consultant with Film Studio Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union, says that working conditions on film and TV sets need to improve drastically. “Workers here have no access to social security. Maurya, for one, was not covered under group insurance by the production house. The union has written to them several times to give compensation — which amounts to Rs 10,28,917 — but they have not given any compensation yet,” he says.
From left: Elli Avram, VJ Andy, Gauahar Khan, Kushal Tandon, Sangram Singh and Apurva Agnihotri on the sets of Bigg Boss season 7
When contacted, the production house issued a press statement. It said, “While our deepest condolences are with the Maurya family, Ramesh Maurya did not expire on account of any accident on the set but because of natural causes, while resting at his hotel. Endemol is no way liable to pay any compensation in this suit as he was employed by a sub- contractor hired on a principal basis. The contractor has been paid in full by Endemol India.”
Reacting to Endemol's statement, Chanana said, “The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the parent body, Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), and the producers clearly states that the responsibility lies not with the contractors but with the producers.”
It is believed that Maurya’s wife has gone back to their ancestral village in Uttar Pradesh, while his children continue to stay in Mumbai with his extended family. His family could not be contacted.