Losing one eye is not enough. Victims should have lost both the eyes and gone completely blind, to be eligible for Rs. 6-lakh ex gratia. This is the shocking explanation of the Ranga Reddy district authorities after making an initial grand announcement of paying the full ex gratia to the two Dilsukhnagar blast victims -- Yadagiri and Maruthi.
The officials are now refusing to release the ex gratia to the victims on the grounds that the victims were not fully disabled. “Both lost only one eye, while their other eye is functional. In such situations, they are not visually impaired and hence, they are not eligible for the ex gratia,” affirmed an official, when contacted.
The victims, yet to recover and move on from the trauma, are obviously upset with what they term as convenient “shifting of the goalposts” by the authorities.
“Is losing an eye not enough? Why did they announce an ex gratia of Rs.6 lakh in the first place without any conditions?” wonders Yadagiri, a resident of L.B. Nagar.
In the last fortnight, Maruthi and Yadagiri underwent a battery of tests at Osmania General Hospital (OGH) and the Sarojini Devi (SD) Eye Hospital.
“While the doctors have confirmed that Maruthi and Yadagiri have lost one eye each, their other eye remains functional which means more than 50 per cent visibility and hence they are not disabled,” the authorities concerned said.
The travails of Yadagiri (26), a construction worker, and 18-year-old Maruthi, an assistant at a sweetmeat shop in Dilsukhnagar, were highlighted in these columns. In fact, Maruthi was deemed untraceable by the authorities till The Hindu managed to track him down to his native Keroor village in Bidar district.
Partial ex gratia
After highlighting the struggles of Yadagiri and Maruthi in getting ex gratia, the Ranga Reddy district authorities assured of providing full compensation to the victims. So far, the authorities have released Rs.1 lakh each to Maruthi and Yadagiri as part of their stay in private hospitals immediately after the twin blasts.
Meanwhile, doctors state that any compensation to victims can only be on humanitarian basis. “The unaffected eye of both the victims is functional. The vision in the normal eye is above 40 per cent, which is good enough. Usually, such cases are considered on humanitarian grounds,” observes Superintendent, S.D. Eye Hospital, Dr. P.V. Nanda Kumar Reddy.
Vexed by frequent visits to Ranga Reddy Collectorate, OGH and S.D. Eye Hospital, members of Maruthi’s family have decided not to run around the officials. “Enough is enough.
It’s difficult for Maruthi to travel frequently. I have not even submitted the medical certificate from OGH to the Collectorate office after what we have already been told by the officials,” says a disappointed brother of Maruthi, Vishwanath.
In yet another instance of babudom showing utter disregard for the victims of Dilsukhnagar blasts, two youths have been denied the full ex gratia of Rs. 6 lakh. Believe it or not, in the dictionary of Ranga Reddy district officials, losing vision in one eye is not enough to claim the relief. One has to be ‘absolutely’ visually challenged to be eligible for the full ex gratia