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Blasts ruin wedding plans

Staff Reporter
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Hard-earned cash, gold lie under rubble

HEARTBREAK: A distraught Venkatamma being led away by family members away from the site. — PHOTO: SAMPATH KUMAR G.P.
HEARTBREAK: A distraught Venkatamma being led away by family members away from the site. — PHOTO: SAMPATH KUMAR G.P.

The twin blasts, apparently caused by LPG leakage at Sumanahalli here, shattered the lives of families residing near the wedding hall, pushing some of them to the brink of ruin.

“I don't know if I will ever be able to get my granddaughter Sujatha married. With great difficulty I had mobilised Rs. 60,000 for her wedding next month. Had I postponed returning from Penukonda by a day, I would not have lost this money, part of which is a loan I took on interest from a sahukar there,” said a distraught Venkatamma.

Lucky escape

Her family, which works at a construction site on a daily wages, has a tradition of eating together and was what saved their lives. On Wednesday afternoon too, Ms. Venkatamma and her ailing husband went to their daughter's house in the next lane to have lunch together.

“We heard a loud blast and rushed out. I could see the walls of our house crashing down. The police prevented us going near it,” she said.

When they were finally allowed to the site, it was just rubble. An inconsolable Ms. Venkatamma was found wailing before the police personnel about her valuables, including jewellery she had bought on Tuesday, being buried in all that debris.

8 months' savings

An employee of a nearby garment factory, Kalandhar Shetty from Orissa, had a similar tale to tell. Mr. Shetty, who shared a room with two others in a building attached to the choultry, had kept Rs. 12,000, his eight months' savings, in a bag. Around 4.30 p.m. when he returned after work, he found to his horror his room reduced to rubble.

Amidst the debris, the bag that contained his savings was visible from a distance, and he made desperate attempts to get to it. But he was prevented going to the partially collapsed structure, When last seen, he was pleading with the police to help retrieve his precious bag.

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