Visakhapatnam/Rajahmundry: The family members of Vanarasi Venkata Prasad pray to God daily before going to bed. Now, lying on the hospital bed, Prasad feels that their prayers were heard on Thursday night as the family had a close shave in the Nagaram gas pipeline blast Friday morning. Just 40 metres away from his house occured the explosion at the pipeline that engulfed the entire area and killed 13 persons on the spot and seven more in the hospital even as they were undergoing treatment.
From the hospital bed at Rajahmundry, Prasad recounts the terrible incident and feels that God had saved his family from death. “We went to bed after watching TV till 11 pm and praying to God for a better tomorrow. But we woke up to a deafening sound followed by a blast of wind mixed with smoke and ash that smashed the doors and shattered the windows and threw us out from our bed. The entire house was filled with broken glass, household articles, ash and smoke,” he recalled.
While Prasad sustained a fracture to his left hand, his wife Surya and daughter suffered grievous injuries due to the shrapnel in the immediate aftermath of the blast. In a panic, he caught hold of his wife and daughter before taking to their heels. “My wife is still unconscious due to shock and the condition of my daughter is not encouraging. They might recover but I don’t know when,” he said. Four days after the blast, nearly 20 persons are undergoing treatment at various hospitals in Amalapuram, Kakinada and Rajahmundry.
They alleged that except for some VIPs visiting them, there is no one to ensure them that their life would remain the same after recovery. Many of them are unsure about their future and their livelihood.
For instance, Prasad owned an earthmover and tractor which were damaged beyond repair. His family lost several other valuable household goods. “My entire family is suffering for a crime which was not committed by us. The officials gave Rs 5,000 towards utensils and promised to bear the hospital bills. I requested them to show me livelihood by compensating for my vehicles but they simply asked me to approach them later. I am not sure if they would help me, once we recover,” Prasad said.
Many such injured persons who have received burns above 30 per cent but have chances of surviving the incident, are doubtful about their future. One of the relatives of an injured person at Apollo Hospitals in Kakinada said that the doctors were doubtful if the injured could ever lead a normal life as most of the internal organs were damaged and their functioning might be in trouble.