Forty days after losing his left eye in the February 21 blast, 26-year-old construction worker Yadagiri continues to suffer in silence, uncertain about his future. Though eligible for Rs. 6 lakh as announced by the government for those permanently incapacitated for loss of limbs or eye, he is yet to receive a single rupee as ex-gratia, for reasons best known to the powers that be
A sense of betrayal, bitterness and frustration is writ large on the face of Yadagiri.
Lying on the bed in his tiny room at L.B. Nagar, with an eye-patch covering his mutilated left eye, the blast victim tries hard not to betray his anger. This 26-year-old illiterate eked out his living as a construction worker till February 21.
On the fateful day, he was passing by Dilsukhnagar when the first blast took place. He stopped in his tracks after hearing the loud explosion and proceeded ahead. As ill luck would have it he found himself in the vicinity of the second explosive device which went of within three minutes of the first blast. He took the full impact of the blast on his face and fell unconscious. When he woke up next, he found himself in Osmania General Hospital compound and tottered his way into the casualty wing with a serious wound to his left eye.
After seven days of treatment in OGH, Care Hospital and later at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Yadagiri walked out minus his left eye. The irreparable eyeball had to be eviscerated. That’s not just the pain he had to endure. More was to come later.
Some 40 days later, Yadagiri continues to suffer in silence because of the bureaucratic insensitivity. Though he is eligible to get the ex-gratia of Rs. 1 lakh (for being in hospital for more than five days), he has not received any money so far. His wife Swapna visited the Ranga Reddy district Collectorate twice trying to get the much publicised financial assistance, but to no avail.
Dependent on wife
The government had announced a financial assistance of Rs. 50,000 for those who were treated for four days and Rs. 1 lakh for those hospitalised for more than five days. Those who have been permanently incapacitated for loss of limbs or eye would get Rs. 6 lakh. But no money was paid to him so far, for inexplicable reasons.
“When will they release my ex-gratia? I was treated for a week at Care Hospital and LVPEI, yet none gave me the ex-gratia. I don’t know what to do,” he says. From the time he has been discharged, Yadagiri is at home and is dependent on his wife for survival.
“Officials promise us that money will be given shortly but it has not happened. Every time I go to LVPEI for check-up, I have to pay Rs. 300 as an outpatient. I can’t even afford to buy the prescribed eye drops,” says Yadagiri.
The eye surgeons had removed his damaged eyeball so that an artificial eye could be implanted. But that’s another issue which Yadagiri does not want even to think about now, as he needs more money.
After The Hindu sought an official reaction for the inordinate delay, the Ranga Reddy district administration hurriedly got in touch with Yadgiri on Thursday evening and assured that ex-gratia would be paid shortly.
The authorities cited technical difficulties like not receiving discharge summary from LVPEI, as the reason for the delay in release of ex-gratia.
The authorities later maintained that in a day or two, the ex-gratia amount of Rs. 6 lakh will be released.