7/11 blast victims got compensation due to hard work: Somaiya

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Mumbai, Jul 4 (UNI) Senior BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya today said due to consistent efforts, follow-up and monitoring by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) the victims of July 11, 2006 serial train bomb blasts have received the financial compensation.

Even as 1,081 victims of the blasts at last seemed to have got a healing touch, two victims -- Parag Sawant and Amit Singh -- are still lying in coma in Hinduja and Jaslok Hospitals respectively, Mr Somaiya told reporters here.

It may be noted that several BJP leaders including city party president Gopal Shetty, Parag Alawani and Mr Somaiya, along with victims, had approached the Human Rights Commission on August 14, 2006.

He said out of 186 dead and around 73 disabled, the Railways had offered jobs to the kin of 70 victims only, that too in 'D' category.

They were getting a monthly salary of around Rs 4,000-6,000 which, according to him, was quite low as the victims were travelling in the First Class compartments in which the blasts occurred and therefore, they had well-paid jobs.

Mr Somaiya said as per the response he got from Western Railway, of 1,081 victims, 1,067 victims had been paid the financial compensation. The Railways had offered Rs 5 lakh compensation to the dead, while Rs 50,000 to the grievously injured.

He rued that the Maharashtra government had unduly taken long time to disburse the ex-gratia (immediate payment). Two hundred and twelve grievously injured people got Rs 50,000 compensation from the state government only a couple of months back, after a struggle of 18 to 22 months.

It is sad that, despite making several statements and commitments in the Legislature, the state government had not spent a single paise for the medical treatment, surgery, provision of artificial limbs to the 573 grievously injured victims, he alleged.

Mr Somaiya, however, expressed satisfaction that the Western Railways had spent Rs 3.45 crore for the medical treatment of the victims.

Of 1,081, 742 victims had filed their claims/cases at the Railway Claims Tribunal at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai. Of that, 711 claims had been settled. Payments had been disbursed to 700 victims. This had been possible only due to the formation of Special Bench at Mumbai RCT, he said.

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