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Punjab man who died in Kuwait fire was sole breadwinner of his family

Hoshiarpur native Himat Rai was among those killed in a devastating fire in southern Kuwait's Mangaf

Punjab man who died in Kuwait fire was sole breadwinner of his family

The burnt building where a fire broke out in Mangaf in Kuwait. PTI


Hoshiarpur, June 14

Hoshiarpur native Himat Rai, who was among those killed in a devastating fire in southern Kuwait's Mangaf, was the sole breadwinner of his family.

His family lives in Kakkon, a suburb of Hoshiarpur, and ever since they received the news about the tragedy they are in a state of shock.

According to official sources, Himat Rai (62), who originally hails from Salempur village in Hoshiarpur district, was among the victims who lost their lives in the tragic fire in the Middle Eastern country on Wednesday.

At least 49 people were killed in the fire in the Al-Mangaf building on June 12 and majority of them were Indians; the remaining were Pakistani, Filipino, Egyptian and Nepali nationals.

The building in southern Kuwait's Mangaf area housed around 195 migrant workers.

Rai is survived by wife, two married daughters and a minor son.

People from all walks of life thronged the residence of Himat Rai since Thursday evening to offer condolences to the bereaved family.

Himat Rai. File photo

Rai's wife, Sarbjit Kaur, on Friday said her husband was the sole breadwinner of the family.

He left India about 30 years ago and joined NBTC firm in Kuwait to earn his livelihood. He was working as a foreman in the fabrication department of the firm, the family said.

His two daughters -- Amandeep Kaur (35) and Sumandeep Kaur (32) -- are married, while his 16-year-old son Arshdeep Singh studies in Class 10 at Government School, Baghpur.

The family moved to their newly constructed house in Kakkon from Salempur village in 2012.

On Thursday, Arshdeep received a call from one of Rai's colleagues, informing him of his father's death in the blaze.

The family initially could not believe the news and immediately contacted a relative working in the same company in Kuwait to check on Rai's well-being. Their relative informed them that Rai had been admitted to the emergency in a hospital but later confirmed his death.

Rai had visited his home last year and stayed for around two months before returning to Kuwait. He last spoke to his family on Tuesday.

Although Rai never discussed his earnings with his family, he always provided whatever money the family needed to meet their expenses, his wife said.

His younger daughter, Sumandeep Kaur, said the area where her father lived was cramped. Her father had told her that he did his daily exercise sitting on the stairs.

Earlier, he had mentioned that the living conditions in the building in Kuwait were fine, but recently, rooms in the building had been partitioned, making the area cramped.

According to her, around 195 people, including her father, lived in the building.

Sumandeep believes that if the building had not been "so congested, people could have easily escaped".

The family said they had no information about any assistance being provided to the victims' families by NBTC in Kuwait.

They said they remained hopeful that the government and the company in Kuwait would provide sincere help to meet their living expenses.

Meanwhile, Hoshiarpur Deputy Commissioner Komal Mittal on Friday said officials from the administration had gone to Delhi to receive Rai's body.

Every type of assistance will be provided to Rai's family as directed by the government, she said.

Two of the family's relatives have also gone to Delhi to receive the body, which is expected to arrive on Friday evening.

His cremation would take place on Saturday, Sumandeep said. 


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