Rest Insured

Rest Insured

Life is unpredictable and its blows can be severe. Like in the case of two journalists who were killed in an accident last December. On Friday, December 03, 2004, Prashant Bhole, 25, a reporter with Marathi Daily Lokmat and R V Syed, 29, a journalist with Jan Aadesh, were killed in a road accident when a truck rammed into their motorcycle. Both journalists were rushed to hospital where they succumbed to the injuries. The tragic death of these reporters was mourned even by the International Federation of Journalists, the world’s largest organisation for journalists.

When Asad Chaus, NCP’s Thane District Secretary, heard about this tragedy, he decided to visit the family of the victims to offer condolences and some help, he was shocked to find out that both victims were sole breadwinners of their respective families. Chaus was even more shaken when he learned that Syed’s parents are blind and Bhole was survived by an aging mother and two dependent brothers. With no insurance policy, the grief-stricken, family members found themselves in dire straits. So moved was Chaus by the pitiable condition of the survivors that he decided to do something that’s never been done before – mass insurance of Thane reporters. "The job of reporters is full of risks, yet they are not paid well, especially if they work for local newspapers with limited circulation. If we don’t do something for them, who will?" said Chaus.

Last Friday, State excise minister Ganesh Naik distributed free accident insurance policies to 70 reporters from Thane city. Every reporter is now insured for five lakh rupees, which will, at least partially, shield the reporters and their survivors from unexpected tragedies. The premium for all the 70 was paid by Chaus himself. Following his example, many other associates of Chaus have also shown interest in doing the same. "If five socially conscious citizens come forth, our reporter friends will be insured for Rs 25 lacs, which is a reasonable sum in case a tragedy strikes," said Chaus who is happy that his initiative has set a precedent for others to emulate. In fact NCP president Sharad Pawar heard about the mass insurance drive, he too was touched by Chaus’s thoughtful gesture and conveyed his feelings.

Incidentally, this was the second mass insurance movement in the city in the last week. In the first one, a group of residents from Saket Complex insured 100 housemaids that work there. The residents of Thane have large hearts indeed.

Help is on the way
Along with the insurance policies, Ganesh Naik also inaugurated an ambulance service for Thane on Friday. This was once again an initiative of Chaus, who faced a situation a few days ago when he rushed to get an ambulance from the city to help an accident victim on Ghodbunder road. The victim died before the ambulance could reach the accident spot. Chaus felt there was an urgent need for an ambulance service in the Ghodbunder area, considering its recent growth. The ambulance service will be operated on a no-profit basis. In case of an emergency, readers can call for an ambulance on 25301355.

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