Worker killed in road accident was a good Samaritan

Mr Selvam Veeraiyah, 33, was hit by a truck on Dec 22 while repairing a pothole on West Coast Highway. The construction worker, who came to Singapore seven years ago, got married only six months ago.
Mr Selvam Veeraiyah, 33, was hit by a truck on Dec 22 while repairing a pothole on West Coast Highway. The construction worker, who came to Singapore seven years ago, got married only six months ago.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ KARTHIKA VEERAIAH

The road had been relatively smooth for Indian construction worker Selvam Veeraiyah, 33.

Having come to Singapore seven years ago, he managed to make enough money to send home $2,000 every month, and even paid for the education of three children from his village in the Pudukkottai district in Tamil Nadu.

Six months ago, he got married to his sweetheart.

But the road came to an end for him on Dec 22, when he was killed while repairing a pothole on the three-lane West Coast Highway.

That evening, he was hit by a truck while clearing safety cones in the middle lane and getting ready to return to his company's lorry.

The lorry and another truck were stationary at that time, but a third vehicle, another lorry, crashed into the truck which surged forward and hit Mr Selvem. He was pronounced dead on the spot.

The driver of the third vehicle, a 51-year-old man, was taken to hospital. Police investigations are ongoing.

SELFLESS PERSON

He even sponsored the education of three children from the village even though he was not related to them.

MR VIGNESH, a cousin of Mr Selvam's, on the construction worker's generosity.

A cousin of Mr Selvam's said he was a jovial and responsible man who gave selflessly to others.

In a phone interview with The Straits Times, Mr Vignesh, 26, said in Tamil: "He even sponsored the education of three children from the village even though he was not related to them."

Mr Vignesh, who goes by only one name, added that his cousin's family is now worrying about how they would cope financially while they wait for the insurance payout from Mr Selvam's employer.

Mr Selvam's 58-year-old father had recently borrowed $12,000 to build a new family home, and the family, including Mr Selvam's 52-year-old mother, his 29-year-old widow and two younger sisters, had depended on his income.

Under the Work Injury Compensation Act, employers have to buy insurance for their workers.

The compensation Mr Selvam's family will get could range from $69,000 to $204,000, and has to be paid out by the insurer within 21 days after the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issues a notice of assessment.

When contacted, an MOM spokesman said it will be looking into Mr Selvam's work injury compensation claims promptly. Mr Selvam's employer, Samco Civil Engineering, did not respond to queries from The Straits Times.

Typically, the notice of assessment can be issued within a few weeks, barring delays due to documentation or other issues.

Meanwhile, the social initiative ItsRainingRaincoats, which focuses on migrant worker issues, has raised about $2,640 for Mr Selvam's family through a crowdfunding campaign that has since closed, said the initiative founder Dipa Swaminathan.

Mr Selvam's body was sent back to India on Dec 24, and was cremated.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2018, with the headline 'Worker killed in road accident was a good Samaritan'. Print Edition | Subscribe