In response to the article, ‘Death would have been better for us,’ that appeared in The Hindu on Monday, Chennai Metro Rail Limited officials said they had issued cheques of Rs. 25,000 to each of the six labourers injured in the accident on August 8, 2011.
They have produced scanned copies of cheques dated August 13, 2012, received by the workers, and the acknowledgements. A crane boom failure at the site near Pachaiyappa’s College was the cause of the accident in which one was killed.
Officials said all the expenses of the labourers including Sadiq Islam, who was injured in his leg, had been borne by CMRL .
Sadiq said that officials had met him on Tuesday and handed over his salary for the last five months.
“I got Rs. 35,000,” Sadiq said and added that though he had received the cheque of Rs. 25,000 in August, he had not accessed the money since he was bedridden and did not have a bank account to deposit it.
Sadiq, who is currently at K.J. Hospital on Poonamallee High Road, said he was informed on Wednesday that he will be operated on Friday. “I hope to be relieved of this abdomen pain then,” he said.
Another labourer, Inamul Haq, who had left for his hometown in Ullasnagar in West Bengal after the accident, said he too was yet to claim the compensation though CMRL has a copy of his receipt of the money, with his thumbprint.
“My cheque was given to my contractor because I was bedridden and did not have a bank account. The officials told me by phone yesterday that I will receive my compensation and insurance money soon,” said the 36-year-old labourer.
CMRL officials said that as per government policy, compensation could be only in the form of cheques. “This is for their own safety as cash can land in the wrong hands. We cannot do much if the workers don’t have bank accounts or hand over the cheque to others,” an official said.
L&T officials say they have spent nearly Rs. 25 lakh on the treatment of the injured workers.