VELLORE: Ten days after the Ranipet tannery tragedy that killed 10 workers in the SIDCO Industrial Estate, not a single official from the district administration has reached out to the lone worker’s kith and kin who hail from Tamil Nadu. The victim’s family of five living in a village near Kaniyambadi lost their sole breadwinner, M Sampath (45) when several tonnes of slurry and sludge flooded the company’s compound and surrounding areas.
Sampath, of Santhanakottai village was buried alive along with nine other migrant workers from West Bengal after several hundred tonnes of toxic slurry swamped the premises of R K Leather Factories. “News of the death of my husband was like thunder on my head and has thrown my family’s future into the dark,” said Sampath’s 37 year-old wife Geetha with tears in her eyes.
As days pass, and the memory of the tragic incident recedes, the concern and the need to help the victims’ families seem to be also fading in the minds of officials.
“Not a single soul representing the government department or the tannery industry has reached us with a consoling word or a helping hand,” said Geetha adding that she now has to raise her two daughters and a son - Gayathri (13), Kaviya (12 ) and Poompozhilan (11). In addition she needs to take care of her mother-in-law.
She learned from the media that she would be receiving a compensation of `3 lakh from the State Government and `7 lakh from the association of tanneries, which she is yet to receive.
“The officials have not even communicated with us about the compensation. It is not only about the money, but about the life of a human being. I lost my husband and my children lost their father because of someone’s fault. No one has bothered to reach out to the victim’s family,” she fumed.
Sampath was working as a watchman in the company for the past six months for a salary of `8000 per month.