2017 Ludhiana fire tragedy: Desperate struggle for job ends, wife of firefighter finally gets work

After a wretched wait of over three years, wife of firefighter Sukhdev Singh, who died in the plastic factory tragedy in November 2017, has finally received a job, announced by the state government as part of compensation.

Sukhdev’s wife Kamlesh has been hired as a Class-4 employee in the municipal corporation (MC) and the offer letter was handed over by mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu and MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal on Friday.

Kamlesh, who has been living with her parents since her husband died tragically while fighting the flames, said her three daughters and she had been dependent on her parents all this while. Though ecstatic over getting a government job, she said it came too late.

“Even though my parents took care of us, it was a burden on their shoulders. Now that I have got a job, I can confidently raise my daughters myself,” said Kamlesh.

As many as 16 people, including nine firefighters, were killed in the plastic factory tragedy that took place near Suffiyan Chowk in November 2017. While jobs were given to the families of six firefighters, the families of three contractual firemen – Manpreet, Vishal and Sukhdev – continued to run from pillar to post for compensation.

The jobs were announced by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh as part of the compensation for the families of the nine firefighters killed in the incident. But, the cases of the three firefighters got delayed after objections over providing permanent jobs to the family members of contractual employees.

Wait continues for two families

The long wait for government jobs still continues for families of firefighters Manpreet and Vishal, as MC has not received approval from the Punjab local bodies department. While Manpreet’s family has been seeking a job for his sister, Vishal’s family wants work for his brother.

The families rued that the authorities had been delaying the files by pointing out different objections, but no one was committed to providing relief to the families, who had suffered the tragic loss of their loved ones.

Mayor Sandhu said MC was regularly pursuing the cases and the family members of the firefighters will soon get offer letters.

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