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Rail accidents scarred their lives,but not their spirit

With the Bombay High Court ordering installation of medical facilities at Dadar station,rail accident victims can now expect better medical facilities in times of emergency.

With the Bombay High Court ordering installation of medical facilities at Dadar station,rail accident victims can now expect better medical facilities in times of emergency. The court order came on a public interest litigation filed by one Samir Zaveri who had lost his legs in a rail accident two decades ago.

The case also throws light on the plight of those who meet with an accident. Crossing of tracks has been a major problem — Dr Jyothi Shetty,a pathologist at Bhabha Hospital,who lost her legs while crossing the tracks at Wadala is the latest. As many as 3,270 had lost their lives in rail accidents in 2007 while it was 3,008 in 2008. And of these,2,603 died while crossing the tracks in 2007 and 2,448 in 2008.

However,those who survive the tragedy are often left with scars. The victims also have their tales of callousness from the Railways and even the state-managed Government Railway Police.

Samir Zaveri,39,businessman
The railway accident was a jolt to Samir Zaveri,who lost both his legs. He was hit by a local train while trying to cross the tracks at Borivali. However,the accident did not deter him from starting his own business.

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“After the accident,I got myself a pair of Jaipur foot. I got married and have two children now,” he says. “Luckily,life has been the same for me,even after the tragedy. ”

Zaveri now fights for rail accident victims. More importantly,he tries to convince people that life can be the same in spite of a tragedy. He had also met Dr Shetty after her accident.

Shama Ashok Mishra,30,housewife
Shama who stays in the Indira Nagar slums along the railway tracks at Kalwa is not that fortunate. “On March 24,she was crossing the tracks when she got trapped between two trains. She lost her left hand while both her legs were badly injured in the accident. She needs surgeries at the King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM). I do not know what I should do,as I don’t have money,” says husband Ashok,an octroi collector at Thane.

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Mishra is puzzled how to arrange money for her treatment. And since it is a case of crossing tracks,no help can be expected from the Railways.

Kunal Sudhir Gupte,26
The accident has completely changed the life of this youngster. A senior advisor with a Malad-based call centre,Kunal met with the accident in February last year. “While coming back from my office,I had boarded a slow train from Malad to reach my Bandra home,but later tried to board a fast train from Goregaon. In the process,I slipped and fell and lost one of my legs,” he said.

For around six months,he was under treatment that cost him around Rs 8 lakh. But more painful was the death of his mother — a cancer patient — owing to the mental stress.

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He has a German (artificial) foot that costs him around Rs 30,000 a year for maintenance. “Now,I have to think twice before making an overnight stay at any place. But it’s the sympathy and perception of people that embarrass me the most. In future,I want to work for rail accident victims,” he said.

First published on: 30-03-2009 at 01:37:55 am
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