On September 08 2006 in the afternoon,
Malegaon was rocked by a series of explosions that took more than
thirty innocent lives, many of them being the children belonging to
families living below poverty level (BPL). As normally the case is,
the leaders were quick in planning a visit to the blast site, with
Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil, in Malegaon by 05:30 the same
evening, being the first to do so. Along with lifting the curfew, he
also announced a compensation of one lakh rupees by the State.
The next morning, it was as if the
whole Government, State as well as Centre, was there in Malegaon.
While Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was there with half a dozen
Ministers, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi herself came with Home Minister Shivraj
Patil and other colleagues from Delhi. Sonia, apart from meeting the
families of the victims, also met the local community leaders. They
expressed their displeasures over the compensation amount and
inadequate availability of the medical facilities in the town. And
probably on Sonia’s behest, the Government promised several packages
for the overall development of the town.
However, one year after the blasts, a
look at the promises made by the Government reveals that, despite
vigorous follow ups, many of the promises are gathering the dust in
Identical Tragedies, Different
Citing the example of the Mumbai
Blasts where the Government had announced a compensation of five
lakhs along with Government job to the victims’ family, the
Malegaonians sought the equal treatment for them. And when their
repeated pleas were taken with deaf ears by the State, they turned
to the Central Government, which announced the compensation of
additional one lakh rupees but failed in giving any kind of
assurances for the Government jobs.
Today, though the families of the
victims have received the amount promised by the State, they are
still struggling for getting the equal amount promised by the
Centre. “And since most of the victims were the only earning hands
for their families, their families are forced to live under
miserable conditions with their children being forcibly dropped from
the schools”, observes Advocate Niyaz Lodhi.
It is ironic that a city of over half
a million people lacks a single Government Hospital with adequate
medical facilities. Many believed if there was a good hospital in
place as promised by Vilasrao Deshmukh after October 2001 riots, it
could have saved many precious lives. At least this time, the
Malegaonians are lucky that the sacrifice of their innocent sons has
earned them a hospital.
And if Amol Ghule, the Project Manager
belonging to M/s VM Matere, is to be believed, they would be
completing the 74.4 million hospital building by March 11, 2008.
“However, once the building is complete, there still remains many
more things to be done before the hospital is fully ready for the
actual functioning”, observes Dinesh Jadhav, the Project In charge.
Dearth of Basic Amenities Continues
“No roads, no proper sanitation and
the problems in plenty, I had never seen such a place in my whole
life”, Dr. Sayyeda Hameed, Member Planning Commission had remarked
after visiting Malegaon. Shocked, she asserted to lend a helping
hand for the revival of the town. She chaired several meetings in
Delhi for this purpose and on her repeated requests the State
reiterated it’s committed for the development of Malegaon.
big claims, when the State recently launched the New Industrial
Policy, there was nothing for the Malegaonians in that. At the same
time, the civic body itself is in such a financial crunch now that
it has no money to pay even its employees’ salary.
(Written for Nashik Times)