11 months later, 11/7 victim still waits…

DISAPPOINTED: Kamal Khemka

For 11 months now, Kamal Khemka, who lost his right arm in the July 11 serial blasts, has been running from pillar to post seeking a job in the Western Railway (WR).

He is yet to be compensated for the loss of his livelihood, as promised by the prime minister, because he is apparently not disabled enough.

He is now planning to approach the consumer court to claim Rs 30 lakh. “I have been unemployed since the blasts and I have to repay some loans,” he said.

His story

Khemka used to run a private printing press before he was injured in the blast at Borivli station. He lost his right arm, which made it impossible for him to operate the press and, in effect, run the business any more.

Khemka appeared before the Railway Board on November 8, as they wanted to assess his disability before offering him a job.

But on May 22 the railway’s Chief Medical Director S S Jaitley’s office told him he did not qualify for the job, as his disability was only 65 per cent. He was told only those permanently incapacitated by at least 70 per cent could get a job as compensation.

Meanwhile, the money Khemka received as compensation is over. He had received the immediate aid of Rs 50,000 from the state government within three days and another cheque of Rs 50,000 from the railways within eight days of the blast.

The insurance company settled most of his medical bills and his friends gifted him the prosthetic arm — costing Rs 4 lakh. But in spite of all this, the medical expenditures that were not covered under the policy sucked up all of Khemka’s compensation money.

Help wanted

And Khemka is not the only one who is disappointed. Although the state government and the railways had offered to help the blast victims in every manner possible, many now say the system has completely ignored them. The railways’ special tribunal, set up to help the blast victims, has met only four times since 11/7.

The authorities, after former MP and BJP leader Kirit Somaiya held a meeting to draw attention to the pending claims, have placed advertisements in newspapers asking the victims to forward their claims. But this hasn’t lifted Khemka’s spirits

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