Gadchiroli blasts: Selfless owner of blown up vehicle seeks justice for driver

Updated: May 04, 2019, 07:37 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar

Wants driver to be called shaheed and his kin to get a job, just as relatives of 15 policemen slain in the IED blast near Gadchiroli will

Gadchiroli blasts: Selfless owner of blown up vehicle seeks justice for driver
Nandakumar Gahane had bought the vehicle to supplement his minor income, he wants the government to replace the truck

The selfless owner of the vehicle that was blown up while ferrying the police near Gadchiroli, is fighting to get justice for his driver, saying he, too, should be called shaheed, and his kin be given a government job. The driver was the only civilian to die with the police in the Maoist attack on Maharashtra Day, May 1. All the owner wants for himself is time to repay the loan he took for the vehicle, and for the government to replace it.

'Don't want a waiver'

Nandakumar Gahane, 38, who runs a small animal fodder shop, owned the Mahindra mini truck whose EMI is still due. The loan was around R6 lakh, to be paid in 40 instalments. "I do not want a waiver, but with the Mahindra, the only source of major income gone, I need some time to pay back the money," he said, adding that he is going to meet the administration with his demands.

The police usually use their department vehicle. However, that day, they called up Gahane's driver Someshwar Singnath, and asked him to get the mini truck. Claiming that 26-year-old Someshwar comes from a very poor family, Gahane demanded that the government take care of his family too. Someshwar stayed with his parents and wife. "The driver should be treated as a martyr. His family should get financial assistance and a government job for his immediate kin, the way it will be given to police personnel," Gahane told mid-day over the phone.

In fact, Gahane said he will approach police administration with the demand. "I am sure the police administration will be cooperative. If the demand is not met, I will meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to ensure justice for the poor driver's family," Gahane added.

Worried about EMIs

Beside his mother and father, Gahane and his wife have two daughters, aged 4 and 6, to look after. Since the family was finding it difficult to make ends meet with the fodder business, they decided to buy a vehicle which could be given on rent.

"Around 18 months back I got the vehicle on monthly EMI of Rs 14,000. I would make between Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 a day depending on the demand for the vehicle. Somehow I could manage the monthly EMI. But now, I am worried about how to pay the further EMIs which are scheduled on the 15th of every month," Gahane claimed.

He wants the government to give him another vehicle and the driver's family to get financial assistance. "The authorities should address the issue on priority. Also till the financial assistance is disbursed, the government should instruct the bank to put the EMI on hold and not levy any penalty for the same. If this doesn't happen, I will have to raise funds from friends or private money lenders," he added.

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