Three friends in their mid-twenties had left farming and migrated to Delhi-NCR eight years ago, in search of a better life. On Tuesday night, their bodies were extricated from the basement of an under-construction building which collapsed in Greater Noida.
Mohammad Mobin, and brothers Mohammad Shamshad and Mohammad Naushad worked as painters in Shahberi village.
On Tuesday night, minutes before the incident, Mobin had called his sister and told her he was well. “Everything ended within a few hours,” said 50-year-old Aseem Ansari, Mobin’s father, who lives in Rajakpalia village in Faizabad.
“They were all friends and had decided to earn more for the family. Our land did not produce enough for our own consumption… They had started earning a decent salary in the capital. Mobin used to send Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 every month,” said Ansari, who learnt about their deaths through the newspaper.
Following the collapse, the Uttar Pradesh government announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for families of the dead. However, the families said that the compensation is barely enough.
Naushad and Shamshad had lost their mother to cancer on June 9. Following her death, they assured their father that things will become better, and promised to send money for their sisters’ wedding.
Their father, Mukhtar Ahmed, said, “Ek mahine mein 3 laash mere ghar par aa jayengi… Kaise zinda rahoon main? (Within a month, there have been three deaths in my family… How will I live now?)”
Ahmed broke down as he waited at the Noida mortuary on Thursday afternoon to take the bodies of his sons. “They had called on Tuesday and said they would send money to buy books and stationary for his sisters. We have a huge financial crunch as I had taken a loan of Rs 46,000 for my wife’s treatment…,” said an inconsolable Ahmed.
Sitting outside the mortuary, Naushad’s wife, Sabina Bano, recalled the last conversation with her husband. “We had to pay back our local grocery store Rs 2,000. I called him on Tuesday evening to ask for money so that I could buy milk to feed our child. I did not imagine that he would leave us minutes later,” she said.