Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the richest civic body in the country, provides a medical insurance cover in the range of Rs 2-3 lakhs to its firemen, according to officials.
The proposal to provide medical insurance to the civic employees was passed in the end of 2014 but many officials have said that the proposal remains only on paper and is yet to be implemented. Under the scheme, a smart card was to be given to each fireman that could be used at both public and private hospitals.
A senior fire official said, “A major part of the medical expenses is met by compensations that are granted to officials which is determined as per their service. The medical insurance was only recently passed but it is yet to activated.” Medical insurance has been a long-pending demand of the fire officials.
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With the proposal remaining on paper, firemen are forced to meet treatment costs on their own in most cases.
“When I was injured during an incident at Nariman Point and admitted to a private hospital because it was an emergency, the BMC denied compensation stating I should have been admitted to a public hospital. I had to foot a bill of Rs 1 lakh on my own.”
On Saturday, two senior fire officials Sanjay Rane and Mahendra Desai died during a rescue operation at Kalbadevi. Senior fire officials confirmed that the families of the deceased will be given Rs 17 lakh each as compensation. A member from each family will also be given a job on compassionate grounds.
On Monday, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta also stated that the families will be supported in all ways. “Both Rane and Desai lost their lives while trying to do their duty. For this, the BMC will financially support their families. Also,one member of each of their families will be employed.”
Mayor Snehal Ambekar said, “We will take the case of the educational expenses of the deceased officers’ children. We will also issue the salaries and handle the medical expenses of the officials undergoing treatment at Airoli currently. A fire and structural audits of all old and dilapidated buildings in the city will soon be undertaken.”
What they need
Saturday’s tragedy provided another opportunity for political parties and leaders to issue statements. Sanjay Nirupam, Mumbai Congress unit chief, said, “The Mumbai fire brigade is understaffed, and poorly equipped to tackle fire incidents.” BJP’s Shaina NC said, “BMC should provide jobs to a member from each family.”
NCP’s Chitra Wagh said, “A Rs 1 lakh compensation to each of the families was offered. However, Rane’s family refused to accept it. What they want right now are shelter and a permanent job to run their families.”
By: Neha Kulkarni