He lost an eye and sustained shrapnel injuries in the Dilsukhnagar blasts. But errors in the phone number and address in medical records led to Maruthi Bhujang Rao Kamaji (18) being labelled as “missing” and thereby being denied the full government compensation.
This reporter on Saturday tracked him to his village, 160 km from Hyderabad, where Maruthi is living with his mother Vittabai in abject penury in a ramshackle hut with no power, water or even a proper roof.
So poor is the family that his younger brother, Angad, has been packed off to Gulbarga to work as a helper in a shop.
Still in shock, Maruthi and his mother are living on the generosity of close relatives and some village elders. “After my father’s death, I came to Hyderabad for livelihood. I worked as a helper in a jalebi shop at Dilsukhnagar. On that fateful day, I was at an outlet that sold snacks when the bomb went off,” he recalls.
Soon after the blast, Maruthi summoned enough courage to cover his injured right eye, which was gouged-out, with bare hands and ran to his shop owner, Balram. His employer rushed him to Omni Hospital at Kothapet.
Maruthi was later shifted to NIMS, ENT Hospital and L.V. Prasad Eye Hospital over a period of seven days before he was discharged. He was handed over a cheque worth Rs. 1 lakh, following which he left for his village to be with his mother.
“I was feeling lonely in the city. The blast continues to haunt me. I still get chills and vomit sometimes from pain. I have trouble sleeping,” he says. “Nobody informed us that he was eligible for Rs. 6 lakh compensation for incapacitation and a job for a family member. We were told by the health and district authorities concerned that Maruthi was eligible for Rs. 1 lakh only,” says Vishwanath, Maruthi’s cousin.
The result of the wrong entry when he was admitted to the hospital first was that he was classified as “non-traceable”. No one bothered to make any effort to look for him. Apparently, officials were waiting for some relative to show up.