Unable to arrange funds for his treatment, a victim of the Kujang fire cracker blast incident, allegedly committed suicide on Friday night. He was undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical, Cuttack, for the last one week.
The deceased, Pramod Jena of Raghunathpur area, was one of the four persons who sustained serious burn injuries on November 16 last year after crackers exploded in a procession of Biju Patnaik workers’ union (BWU). The rally was organised by the BJD MLA of Cuttack-Barabati, Debasish Samantray, and others.
BJD leaders were going in a procession to attend a trade union meeting at Paradip when the crackers burst in a truck. The victims were aboard the truck. Four had died in the mishap.
Reeling under acute poverty and in the absence of any government help, Pramod was unable to meet his medical expenses. A daily labourer by profession and having a family of seven to take care of, Pramod had exhausted his savings for this treatment.
Seeing his plight, members of Biju Helpline and Eastern Indian Oil Refinery Workers Union had admitted him to SCB Medical last week. With the going getting difficult with each passing day, Pramod took the extreme step by consuming poison.
Earlier this year, Pramod’s family members along with other bereaved families had staged demonstrations several times demanding compensation.
Sources said although they had demanded a compensation of ` 20 lakh, they were only given ` 10,000 from the Red Cross fund.
“We required ` 700 every month for his treatment. We had no savings and maintaining the family and buying medicines for his treatment were getting difficult for us. He was the sole breadwinner in the family,” said Kanchan, Pramod’s wife.
Sources said even as Kujang Police had registered a case against MLA Samantaray and four other leaders of BWU, no action has been taken against them yet.
The shopkeeper from whom the crackers were procured, Subash Rout, was arrested after nearly 50 days of the blast by a team of Jagatsinghpur Police from Puducherry.