Calcutta Metro gives Rs 25,000 as ex gratia to 5 with fractures

Compensation yet to be worked out

By Debraj Mitra in Calcutta
  • Published 2.01.19, 2:48 AM
  • Updated 2.01.19, 2:48 AM
  • 2 mins read
Metro official RK Mukherjee with Manoj Bhagat, who fractured both legs in Thursday’s mishap. Bishwarup Dutta

Five passengers who suffered fractures in the melee resulting from the Metro fire on Thursday got Rs 25,000 each on Tuesday in what a railway official described as a “much-needed gesture”.

The five passengers received calls from the office of the chief operations manager before Metro officials visited their homes to hand over the cash.

The callers apologised for the trouble caused to the passengers and promised all possible help in their rehabilitation.

The Metro authorities had come in for a lot of flak for not apologising to the passengers and for not coming out with an offer of compensation.

“The money given on Tuesday was ex gratia, not compensation,” chief operations manager Satyaki Nath said. “It was a much-needed gesture.”

Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines ex gratia as “given or done as a gift or favour, not because there is a legal duty to do it”.

Nath said handing out ex gratia payments was the norm after railway accidents.

Manoj Bhagat, one of those who received the payment, welcomed the move but expressed the hope that it was the beginning and not the end.

The 27-year-old fractured both his legs after he jumped out through a window of the second coach of the Dum Dum-bound train that caught fire minutes after it had pulled out of Rabindra Sadan station.

Several passengers jumped out of the train after smashing windowpanes to escape the smoke that filled up multiple compartments.

Bhagat, who works at a chartered accountancy firm and freelances as a tax consultant, has been advised “bed rest” for at least five months.

“I am almost out of work. I need compensation,” he told the Metro official who had come calling at his sister’s home in Howrah’s Ramrajatala with the money.

“My elder brother is epileptic and has other medical conditions. My mother would not have been able to take care of both of us together. That is why my sister brought me here.”

Bhagat’s sister told the official that his brother, who has both his legs in cast, could not even go to the bathroom on his own.

The official told the family that he was not authorised to speak on compensation but advised Bhagat to file the documents related to his treatment.

“A list of 12 passengers has been drawn up under the supervision of the chief medical officer. Five of them who suffered grievous injuries are entitled to Rs 25,000 each. Those with simple injuries are entitled to Rs 5,000 each,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.

Three of the seven passengers who suffered “simple injuries” were handed Rs 5,000 each during the day. “The other passengers are out of station. They will receive the payment once they are back,” said Banerjee.