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Latur quake hero awaits promised land

Fourteen years after he was promised a land by the government, National Bravery Award winner Badri is still making the rounds of the Medak collectorate to get his promised land, reports Ashok Das.
Hindustan Times | By Ashok Das
UPDATED ON JUL 23, 2007 04:15 AM IST

The government conferred the National Bravery Award on him for saving his septuagenarian grandparents from the devastating earthquake that struck Latur and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra on September 30, 1993, killing over 7,000 people.

Then a boy of eight years, Badri was visiting the old couple in Killari village, Latur, when he heard some rumbling noise. Without wasting even a minute, he dragged the elderly couple from inside the house to the open courtyard. Seconds later, the house came crashing down like others in the locality, killing many.

In recognition of his exemplary bravery, the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma honoured him with an award at a function in New Delhi on January 26, 1995. The president's office also wrote to the Andhra Pradesh government (the boy hailed from Medak district) to allot a house site to him at Zaheerabad town.

A similar letter followed from then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. Acting on the letters, then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed the Medak district collector to allot a house site to Badri at Zaheerabad.

Fourteen years later, Badri is still making the rounds of the Medak collectorate to get his promised land.

"The revenue officials initially allotted me a land. But when I went to take possession, I found someone else was in possession of it and in fact, had constructed a house there and was living in it. I reported the matter back to the government. Many years have passed since then and I am still waiting for my land,” Badri, now 21, told HT. Fed up with the callousness of the lower-level bureaucracy, Badri recently met district collector B Venkatesam. “The issue was brought to my notice only now. I will look into the matter,” said Venkatesam.

Badri plans to return the bravery award and all the other citations to Rashtrapati Bhawan if he does not get justice soon.

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