Sunday, August 25, 2013

How to help families of accident victims stand on their feet after earning member's death: Society must realise its responsibility, NGOs should take action


It's heart-breaking to see how families are devastated when an earning member is killed in a road mishap. Especially, in families where the victim was the lone earning member, the spouse and children's future turns bleak.

1. Babu Khan, drove an auto-rickshaw to eke out his living. A man who was drunk, was speedily driving his car that hit the auto. Khan died in the mishap, leaving behind his wife and children.

2. Vimlesh Kumar, who worked at a factory, was travelling in the auto-rickshaw then. He also got critically injured and later succumbed in the hospital. Vimlesh was also the only bread winner for the family that includes his parents, wife and children.

Those travelling in the vehicle were released on bail, because the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 304 (A) i.e. negligence causing death is a bail-able and light section. The car that caused the mishap didn't have insurance.

As a result, there is little hope that the families may ever get compensation. But the biggest issue for them is how to cope with this tragedy. The earning members have gone and there is no helping hand. As with most lower middle-class and poor families, there is hardly any saving.

Away from the glitz of newspapers that talk of Sensex, most of the families hardly have the resources to even think of a future [school, clothes]. The immediate issue is of the daily bread. Khana kahaan se aayega? Yes, this is a stark reality. The incidents happen regularly.

There is no dearth of NGOs working in different sectors. There are several government departments. But there is no proper policy in this regard. If the affected family gets an interim compensation that can give them a breathing period and help them stand on their fee, it can help so many families.

Deaths in accidents are something that can happen with anyone. It doesn't need a great brain to figure out how much money is needed for the subject. In districts there are 100-300 fatal mishaps a year [not talking of districts that include metros like Mumbai, Delhi.

Families of Babu Khan [Left] and Vimlesh Kumar [Right]. Images thanks to Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal
There can be different models for running a scheme to help survivors or families of those who die in accidents. At district-level, NGO or group of people can take charge. A corpus fund can be created with social workers or elderly citizens with clean image can be brought in.

An influential businessman or politician can be made patron. Such persons who are ready to shell money or can help mobilise funds can come to the aid. It is not difficult to get money for this cause. There are innumerable moneyed persons who want to donate, but for a GOOD CAUSE. Real charity.

Compensation of Rs 50,000 or 75,000 after the incident as per the financial condition of the family  or on case-to-case basis can help the victim's kin a lot. Or it can be a basic Rs 3,000-5,000 monthly help for a year or two.

At least, the kids can keep going to schools and other family members can meanwhile take up some work. Politicians can be brought in as they love to be part of schemes that spread goodwill, as they feel that it helps their image. Don't paint all of them with the same brush.

Politicians like to nurture constituency and know how such things go a long way in helping their careers. They have huge funds at their disposal and they can egg on others to contribute. Further, there should be a system to ensure that the real needy get the help.

Then, there are centres run by NGOs for women, where they can work and earn with dignity. There should be a system to take care of that as well. It is not impossible. Innumerable people are doing great social work, individually. For such causes, a few people need to join hands.

I have much more to write and discuss on this subject. But this is a preliminary post. I must thank the newspaper for this report. The journalists--Zahid Meer and Bhim Singh Meena, for the report titled, 'Nashe mein dhut yuvakon ne chheen liye do parivar ke mukhiya' in DB Star section of the paper.

Read this report HERE or HERE