Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, better known as the Siachen braveheart, died on 11 February last year. He had spent six days struggling to stay alive under 35 feet of snow after his team had been hit by an avalanche. Koppad lay buried under snow for 5 days along with his comrades but when rescue parties finally located and rescued them, he was the only one still breathing.
Koppad was admitted to the hospital with severe shock, hypothermia, pneumonia and dysfunctional liver and kidneys. Despite the prayers that poured in from across the country, Naik died one day after being rescued.
He left behind his wife, Mahadevi and a three-year-old daughter. Amidst the tributes and condolences for the dead soldier, many promises were made to help the grieving family. While the Karnataka government has provided the family with money and four acres of land as compensation, the single mother is still without a job.
In an interview to One India, Mahadevi Koppad said that she was desperately in need of a job. She said she wants to inspire her daughter with stories of valour and bravery, especially that of her father, and wants her to join the army as well.
"I want a job to take care of myself and my child. I have not asked for anything specific, I will sweep the floor if I have to, but give me a job is all I ask. Authorities call me now and then and say that I will surely be given a job but for a year I have waited in vain. I am tired. I can't keep pleading with the government for a job. Give me the option of living my life in dignity," she is quoted as saying.
However, when HuffPost India reached out to the army, they said Mahadevi has been amply compensated to make a comfortable living. She has got about Rs 1.1 crore which has been invested by the military. Beside this, she gets a liberalized pension of Rs 40,000 a month, apart from receiving the interest from the FD. She also has received 4.5 acres of land. Army sources said that her total earnings is about Rs 1.40 lakh per month, enough to sustain her with dignity.
The Karnataka government had also promised to erect a memorial in the memory of Kobbad in his hometown but she says nothing has come of that promise. The memorial was supposed to have been completed by his first death anniversary. Even though the material required for the structure has been dumped near the village panchayat office, actual construction is yet to begin, claimed Mahadevi.
Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was posthumously awarded a service medal on Republic Day this January which Mahadevi accepted.
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