Kin of Chamarajanagar oxygen tragedy victims demand government jobs

The other 12 are going from one government office to another seeking compensation, disputing the claims of officers that their family members did not die of Covid.

Published: 07th June 2023 07:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th June 2023 07:43 AM   |  A+A-

Oxygen cylinder, Bengaluru

Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | Shriram BN, EPS)

Express News Service

MYSURU: Two years after the oxygen tragedy that killed 36 people in Chamarajanagar hospital during the peak of Covid, the return of Congress government in the state has raised hopes of families of victims on getting government jobs as promised by Congress leaders then.

The victims, who are in penury, want Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar to fulfil their promise.Siddaramaiah, who was then opposition leader, and KPCC president Shivakumar had visited the hospital, given the families of victims Rs 1 lakh each and pulled up officers for the tragedy that drew national attention.

Though 36 people died, the government paid compensation only to 24 families. The other 12 are going from one government office to another seeking compensation, disputing the claims of officers that their family members did not die of Covid.

“If he was not Covid-positive, why did they admit him and put him on a ventilator,” asked Jyothi of Bislavadi. She said she has no income and her family is living with her aged parents. “I could not get a job with my SSLC certificate. I have no money to admit our son to a pre-university college.”

Siddarajamma, the mother of two who lost her husband, is pleading for a temporary job. “Why did they (the previous government) deny us justice when my husband died gasping for oxygen at midnight,” she asked.She recalled that Congress senior leader Rahul Gandhi, who interacted with the families of victims, had assured them of jobs if Congress came back to power. Shivakumar too had given the same promise.

“Then MLA N Mahesh told me that he would get me a job, but no progress was made. How can I feed my two daughters when I have no income,” she asked. These families now hope that the Congress government, which is implementing five pre-poll guarantees, would extend them a helping hand. They want Rs 5 lakh compensation to all the 36 families and a government job for each family.

They blamed the previous government for not punishing the government officials responsible for the tragedy. The then deputy commissioner, DHO and doctors too were spared, they said.Farmer leader Mallesh had appeared before the single-bench commission of BA Patil and blamed civil servants and their adamant attitude for the tragedy. SDPI state president Abdul Majeed met the families of victims and asked the government to give a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to each family, government jobs and action against guilty officials. They welcomed Siddaramaiah’s decision to order another inquiry into the tragedy.

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