Kin of victims of the 2009 Karunagapally gas tanker tragedy are still waiting for the promised jobs.
Even as Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala demand government jobs for the dependants of those killed in the Chala gas tanker explosion near Kannur on August 27, dependants of the victims of the gas tanker blast at Karunagapally near here in 2009 are waiting for the promised jobs.
On December 31, 2009, an LPG tanker rammed a car at the Punthentheruvu junction at 3.50 a.m. and burst into flames. Twelve of the 18 persons who suffered burns died, most of them natives of Karunagapally and nearby areas who rushed in for rescue operations.
Those killed were from the economically weaker sections, many of them daily wage earners. The government announced a compensation of Rs.5 lakh each to the dependants of those killed. An equal amount was paid by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)
The tanker was carrying 18 tonnes of LPG from Kochi to the IOC’s refilling plant at Paripally, near here. In addition to the financial compensation, Mr. Achuthanandan, who was the then Chief Minister, had promised government jobs to one person each from the family of those killed.
Except for a dependant each of the two civil police officers and a Fire and Rescue Services personnel killed in the explosion, the dependants of the other victims did not get government jobs.
Talking to The Hindu on Sunday, the dependants said though the compensation amount was paid, none of them had been given jobs so far.
Ashraf, 24, a driver who was having tea from a wayside stall, was one of the first to rush to the scene. After suffering serious injuries in the explosion, he died the same day at the Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram (MCH). His wife Shamna was eight months pregnant then. His father, Hassankunju, said though she had passed SSLC, she had not been provided the promised job so far.
Abdul Samad, 44, worker at a nearby fish market, had rushed to the spot for rescue operations. Badly injured in the explosion, he died the next day at the MCH leaving behind wife and two daughters.
His wife Sulfath said when she approached the authorities for job, she was told she could not be considered as she had not passed the SSLC examination. Though she qualified the examination next year, her applications had been repeatedly rejected. The family is pulling forward with help from generous relatives. Her daughter Subina, who is doing Plus Two, said the compensation amount was used to build their own house. A bright student, she is keen on higher studies. If her mother is given the promised job, it will bring some relief.
Call for action
“At the time of accidents, the government talks of better roads and restrictions on tanker lorries. But soon, these are forgotten which results in accidents like the one at Chala. The government should take firm action. Otherwise, more families will get orphaned like mine,” she said as tears rolled down her eyes.
Biju, 32, was also a worker at the fish market. After sustaining serious burns, he died the same day at the MCH leaving behind wife Raseena, a daughter, and two sons.
Raseena’s application for a job too was rejected as did not pass the SSLC examination. She also qualified the examination the next year in the hope of getting the promised job.
Her petitions for the promised job had been in vain. Though she had taken up the matter with the present government, there has been no reply.