'There is a long way to go'

Joining hands

Two years on, the scars of the tragedy still remain fresh for the kin of the dead and the survivors.

Survivor:Nitin Dubey

Though they have reconciled to the irreplaceable loss, they have literally gone beyond Carlton by dedicating themselves to spread the spirit of fire safety among Bangaloreans.

The families, who lost their loved ones in the tragedy, joined hands and formed an informal group ‘Beyond Carlton’. They go to schools, residents’ associations and talk to people in general about the importance of fire safety. They’re willing to wait and watch until something concrete is done by the authorities.

Uday Vijayan, founder member, ‘Beyond Carlton’ who lost his son Akhil Uday in the tragedy says he will never come to terms with the loss but has moved on to educate people on fire safety. “I think there is a miniscule improvement in regard to awareness about fire safety among the people. There is a long way to go and I feel the authorities are moving at a slow pace,” explains Uday.

Shanth Kumar’s wife Benzi jumped to her death from the Carlton Towers leaving behind Shanth and their two children — Natasha Maria Kumar and Nisha Jennifer Kumar. Shanth says they don’t want to live in the past and have moved on. “The past is haunting but my daughters have grown up a little and now understand the situation better.

I have to concentrate on my work to ensure that my children have a better future. I spend time with them whenever I can afford to. But I have to work and it’s a sacrifice I have to make for my children,” says Shanth, who is also active in spreading awareness about fire safety.

Nitin Dubey, a survivor, recalls the horrific moments he went through but he says very cheerfully that he never slipped into any sort of depression and doesn’t dwell on the past. “I have moved on,” he avers. Nitin runs his own music production company and points out that the authorities were forced to act after the High Court directed the fire and emergency services department to inspect all high-rise buildings for non-compliance. “There’s a hesitation to execute the order in spirit.

They claim that they lack the manpower to inspect all the buildings to make sure that safety measures are in place. Bangalore has increased manifold but the authorities always seem to have readymade excuses to not to move at the same pace,” observes Nitin, who hopes things will look up a little more.

Jabeen lost her brother Fayaz Pasha, an attender, at Carlton Towers. She still can’t pull herself together to talk about her brother. “Everything, including our lives, has been thrown out of gear after we lost Fayaz. He was the only breadwinner of the family. My mother is sick and he took care of her. For us, not a day passes without remembering him,” says Jabeen.   

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