The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) hospital here has now decided to pay a full Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of two victims of last week’s fire. Both these victims had died after the December 17 fire at ESIC Hospital in suburban Andheri here. The parents of an infant girl who died four days after the blaze had alleged that they were paid less compensation. Sanjay Kumar Sinha, additional commissioner, ESIC, said Thursday that the balance amount would be paid by Friday. Anil and Lalita Logavi, the girl’s parents, alleged that the authorities reduced the compensation amount from Rs 10 lakh payable to the deceased’s family to Rs 2 lakh because “the premature baby was anyway going to die naturally”.
Hospital authorities, however, rejected this claim and said the compensation was being disbursed on the basis of reports of the tehsildar (revenue officer).
“The first instalment was given in this case after the first report was received from the tehsildar. As per the procedure, it was required to tally with the records of the hospital where the victim was treated,” said Sinha.
“Since we wanted to disburse the amount at the earliest, we distributed the cheques based on the first report finalised at that stage,” Sinha said.
The Union Labour ministry had announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for those seriously injured.
Sinha also said that the case of Logavi girl was not singular. “One more such case (where full compensation was not paid at one go) was found. Necessary formalities are being completed to ensure that full compensation is paid in that case too latest by Friday,” he said.
All those who suffered injuries and have not received compensation yet will get the cheques soon, he added.
Anil Logavi said the hospital authorities had finally done them justice. “We feel a bit relieved. They have done justice to us, though a bit late. But it is alright now,” said Logavi, who works as an AC mechanic.
His wife Lalita had delivered twins, a boy and a girl, three days before the fire broke out at the hospital. While the girl died four days after the fire, the boy is undergoing treatment.
BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, who had taken up the issue, said, “As chairman of a parliamentary committee on labour, I suggested that if a victim dies after a fire or accident, during treatment, it must be treated as a death due to the fire or accident and full amount of compensation should be paid.”
The deadly blaze on December 17 killed 11 people and injured 176 others. According to another senior ESIC official, ten injured victims are still admitted at Intensive Care Units while as many others have been shifted to general wards at six hospitals across the city.