They are a personification of values practised by the State's nurses: Oommen Chandy

Kerala will accord official recognition of the great sacrifice made by the two staff nurses from the State, who laid down their lives saving eight patients during Friday's fire at AMRI Hospitals in Kolkata.

The official declaration of the recognition will be made after a Cabinet meeting next week, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told The Hindu here on Sunday.

“The nursing fraternity from Kerala is acclaimed the world over for its commitment to the profession and a humane attitude towards patients. The two women are the personification of the values practised by the community,” he said.

West Bengal authorities had promised to make arrangements for bringing the bodies of Remya Rajappan, 24, and P.K. Vineetha (Monikkutty), 23, to Kerala.

The funeral of Remya, daughter of Rajappan and Usha of Mecharil House at Uzhavoor, will be held in the 12-cent compound of her decrepit house. Usha collapsed on hearing the news of her daughter's death. Remya had just then made a farewell call, and the mother is yet to recover from the shock. She was taken to the primary health centre nearby and later to a private hospital before she was discharged on Friday night.

Ever since her husband died nearly five years ago, Usha had been making a living as a daily wage labourer. Her only hope was in the education of her children, Rajesh and Remya.

With both children getting employed, the family was looking forward to better days when the tragedy struck.

Funeral

The funeral of Vineetha, daughter of Kunjumon and Mary of Pulickal House at Kothanallore, will be held at the Parel Church Cemetery at Chamakkala by Monday noon.

The health of her mother, who had been ill for the past many months, deteriorated after hearing the news of Vineetha's death. She has been admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital, Kottayam. Mr. Kunjumon and Vineetha's younger sister, Vidya, also a nursing student, are with her.

Nurses bodies arrive

Correspondent reports from Nedumbassery:

The bodies of Vineetha and Remya, who were charred to death in the fire at the Advanced Medical Research Institute (AMRI) Hospitals in Kolkata, were brought here on Sunday. The coffins that arrived here in a Jet Airways flight were received at the airport by a battery of political leaders led by Mr. Chandy. Remya's brother Rajesh and Vineetha's uncle Vijayan accompanied the bodies. “They pulled out eight of the nine patients in the noxious smoke-filled female ward and succumbed to the smoke and heat when they went up to save the ninth patient who had suffered a fracture,” the Chief Minister said. The government would grant them compensation. A decision in this regard would be taken at the next Cabinet meeting. Of the 20 people injured in the fire, 17 were Keralites and the government would offer all assistance to their families.

The bodies were later taken to their home towns in Kottayam district by 8.10 p.m. in a huge convoy of vehicles. The funeral will be held on Monday in their respective villages.Union Minister Vayalar Ravi, State Finance Minister K.M. Mani and State Revenue Minister Thiruvanchiyoor Radhakrishnan were among those who paid homage.