Nine years after seven bombs ripped through the lifeline of Mumbai, those injured in the serial blasts have picked up the pieces. As they struggle past nightmares from the evening of July 11, they said government’s apathy is not making things any better.
Mahendra Pitale, who lost his left hand in the blasts, said he has still not got a job he was promised with the Railways, even after his medical test was done in 2010.
“I applied for the job in 2009 and I am still being asked for documents. I have lost all hopes and have started looking for another job. I specialise in designing and for that I need both my hands. It is very difficult for me to find work in my field of specialisation,” he said.
Pitale added that some victims, who applied for work in the railways, got the jobs; the rest, like him, are still struggling.
Alwyn D’Cunha, a manager with an automobile company in Dadar, is still waiting for the government to reimburse his medical bills that ran into lakhs after both his hands were injured in the blasts.
“When I was shifted to Lilavati Hospital, the state government took care of my medical bills for a month. But then they stopped paying attention and told me that after the first time I got discharged from the hospital, it is no longer their responsibility to pay the bills. This despite the doctors saying I needed further treatment. My medical bills amount to Rs 5 lakh,” he said.
D’Cunha went to court against the authorities to have his medical bills reimbursed and won the case. “In court, they argued why I went to a hospital like Lilavati and not to a municipal hospital. This is the kind of attitude they have towards the victims,” he said.
The 45-year-old though has not received the compensation amount; each time the authorities tell him they are short of funds. “The Railways offered me a job of a peon – this is the kind of humiliation I was subjected to,” he said.
Life has changed in so many ways for D’Cunha; even his daily commute has not been the same. “Every day when I take the train to work, I look around suspiciously, should there be any unclaimed baggage in the compartment,” he said.