No time to grieve: Woman survivor of Delhi Mundka fire tradegy worried about livelihood, future

Charred remains of the building after the Mundka fire, in New Delhi, Sunday, May 15, 2022.

Charred remains of the building after the Mundka fire, in New Delhi, Sunday, May 15, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

"It is like a video continuously playing in my head and I can still hear screams of people begging for help," says 45-year-old Mamta, one of the survivors of the Mundka fire tragedy.

However, Ms. Mamta has no time to grieve as another pressing worry on her mind is to feed her family of nine who is entirely dependent on her.

Ms. Mamta suffered burns on her hands and injuries on her foot and has been asked to take rest until recovery.

On May 13, a massive fire engulfed the four-storey building where Ms. Mamta had been working for years. Many of Ms. Mamta’s co-workers died or are unaccounted for till now.

At least 27 people, including 21 women, died in the blaze that started on the first floor of building.

"It is like a video continuously playing in my head. I still hear screams and people begging for help. I could still feel that smoke. My friend Geeta was standing there, but she couldn't move.

"We asked her to take the rope and come down. But she could not. I don't know what happened to her. I cannot forget what happened that day," said Ms. Mamta, a resident of Parvesh Nagar, situated in west Delhi's Mubarakpur near Mundka.

However, Ms. Mamta’s major concern is feeding her hungry kids.

“My husband is handicapped. I have seven kids, including five daughters. My sons work as well as study. They are daily wagers and most of the time are without work.”

"I was the only stable earning member of the family. Now I am sitting at home without work. How will I feed my family?" rued Ms. Mamta, who worked in the CCTV cameras and router manufacturing company in the building.

Many of those who worked at the company are from Parvesh Nagar and every alternative house in the area is somehow affected by the tragedy in one or the other way.

"Nobody is talking about the incident. Everybody is affected. All of them are poor people with a single earning member," Ms. Mamta said.

Malti, another Parvesh Nagar resident and a survivor, said it is difficult to find other work here.

"Not many factories are here. We don't have much savings. We were managing with much difficulty and now this tragedy has added another stress on us," Ms. Malti said. She also suffered minor injuries in the incident and has been on painkillers.

"I know it is difficult for them whose loved ones have died. And it is difficult for us as well. I used to earn a little less than 10,000 from the factory but I dont know how will we manage now," said Ms. Malti.

Some are even scared to send their family members to other factories in the area for work.

Srishti (name changed), whose mother was one of the survivor, is concerned about the future of her family.

"My mother used to work at the factory. She was lucky that day but what if she is not next time. What will we do? I cannot lose my mother.

"In this area, every other factory is like that. It is an incident in waiting. If she will go to work I will be a concerned the whole day," 15-year-old Ms. Sristi said.

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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 5:14:57 am |