It has been seven years since his father died during a fire-fighting operation in Sector 22. For Simranjit Singh, son of Amarjit Singh Mavi, the long struggle of the family to get compensation has finally ended.
His family along with the families of two firemen who had died last year in a fire incident in Sector 17 were awarded compensation by the Municipal Corporation and UT Administration on Friday.
Speaking to Newsline, Simranjit said that for the last seven years, his family has been constantly told that the file for compensation awaited approval. “My father was the sole bread-winner and despite repeated meetings with MC officials, I could not get a government job on compassionate grounds as promised. It was with difficulty that we survived on the pension we were receiving.”
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“During our meeting with the adviser, we were assured that our monetary grievances will soon be over. We will finally be able to make ends meet,” Simranjit said.
In July last year, the general house of the municipal corporation had resolved to provide a job to the family of Ravinder Kumar Sharma, leading hand fireman in the Indian Air Force, and compensation to the family of Amandeep Singh, a fireman of the MC, both of whom died during fire at NIELIT building in Sector 17.
Sharma’s family has been living in dire financial straits since his death, as he was the sole bread-winner and is survived by his mother, wife and three children. His eldest son Dheeraj Sharma, 23, was promised a job for which he is still waiting.
“Since the incident, I have been seeing reports in newspapers that a compensation amount is going to be delivered to my family. I am yet to receive a single penny from the Air Force and had almost given up on the matter. I was promised a government job which has also not materialised. The compensation amount I got today will partly put my worries away for some time,” said Dheeraj.
For Amandeep Singh’s family, the compensation amount was secondary. Their main concern was that people remembered the sacrifice he made.
“Life has not been the same after Amandeep’s demise. No money can compensate his sacrifice. The family’s only desire is that he receives a gallantry award in his honour. The authorities have given assurance that they will heed our request,” said Gurpreet Singh, brother of Amandeep Singh.
At the meet, UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev handed over a cheque for Rs 20 lakh to Gurmeet Kaur, mother of fireman Amandeep Singh, and a cheque for Rs 7 lakh to Santa Rani, wife of fireman Ravinder Kumar Sharma. An amount of Rs 13 lakh is to be given to his family by the Air Force. Mayor Poonam Sharmna assured that the remaining compensation of Rs 13 lakh would be given by the civic body if the IAF did not do so.
Also, a cheque for Rs 17 lakh was given to Manjit Kaur, wife of Amarjit Singh Mavi, who was killed during a fire-fighting operation in Sector 22. The civic body had already given Rs 3 lakh in compensation to the family.
A group insurance scheme for fire-fighters was also announced. Under this, all members of the operational staff will now be covered by insurance when they are involved in a fire-fighting operation. The firemen from other departments, for instance firemen from the Air Force, or from Mohali or Panchkula, who are involved in fire-fighting in the city will also be covered.
Further, family of a fireman who is killed during fire-fighting will get Rs 20 lakh while a fire-fighter who suffers permanent disability above 75 per cent will be given Rs 10 lakh. A fire-fighter who suffers permanent disability between 50 and 75 per cent or 20 to 50 per cent will get a compensation of Rs 7.5 lakh or Rs 5 lakh respectively.