“I wish I had died in the blast,” says Jaiprakash Gurav. The 30-year-old lost his left leg in one of the several train blasts that claimed about 200 lives on July 11 last year.
The Byculla resident was on his way home from Jogeshwari when the first-class compartment of a Borivli-bound train blew up on the other side of the platform.
“Surviving did me no good,” says Gurav. “I have been running from pillar to post either to claim compensation and reimbursement for medical bills or looking for a job.”
Gurav used to earn Rs 6,500 per month working as a goldplating master at an imitation jewellery-manufacturing unit in Jogeshwari.
He could not continue with the job after the blast as it meant being on his feet and working with acidic substances. “The artificial limb would get damaged as the acidic substances are scattered all over,” he says.
A prosthetic limb would help, but where do I get the money from, he asks.
“The railways have denied me a job as they say I am only 60 per cent handicap. For a new prosthesis, only the foot will cost Rs 51,000,” he says.
So now, Gurav works at a clock and watch service centre in Chembur where he earns Rs 3,000 per month. “If I had died, my family would have got Rs six lakh and a family member would have been employed. I am alive, and I didn’t even get a job,” says Gurav.
For Gurav, who has always organised and participated in cultural events like Gudi Padwa in his area, life has slowed down. “I feel like a burden now,” he says. “My parents are old and my elder brother has a family to look after. The government should encourage people like me who have survived the fatal terrorist attack. Instead we have been abandoned.”
And although he is of marriageable age, nuptial plans have taken a backseat. “Who would want to marry me — a handicap and jobless?” he says.