Over a fortnight after the blast at Maur Mandi in Bathinda district that left six dead and several others injured, the district administration has decided to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 each to the 13 injured it has identified. However, those injured and their kin say the compensation amount of Rs 50,000 is too low since they have already spent much more on their treatment.
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Darshan Singh Dhillon, who is in his late 50s and is principal in a local government school, sustained a hip injury in the blast. He was rushed to Cosmo Hospital in Bathinda where he was operated overnight.
According to Gurmail Singh, who heads a group formed after the January 31 blast to demand financial assistance for the victims, most of them poor, Dhillon has already spent over Rs 1.40 lakh on his treatment. “He was discharged from the hospital 2-3 days back, but he is still on bed and will take time to recover. His daughter’s wedding scheduled for February 5 was held in a simple manner. It sounds a little odd that the government is giving a compensation of merely Rs 50,000 each to the injured while they are still on bed and spending money on medicines and daily diet,” Gurmail Singh said.
Surinder Kumar, in his mid-20s, has sustained burn injuries. He claims he has already spent nearly Rs 90,000 on his treatment and is yet to join work, which is a loss to his family.
Cousin-duo Rajiv Kumar and Mani Mittal, both in their 20s, claim to have spent Rs 1.87 lakh so far on their treatment. They too say the relief amount is grossly inadequate.
Sanjeev Kumar is still in hospital. His father Prem Kumar says they have spent Rs 2.70 lakh on his treatment. Kumar had sustained blast injuries on limbs and chest.
Three of the injured admitted in DMCH, Jaskaran Singh, Amrik Singh and Ankush, are being given free treatment.
Bathinda DC Ghanshyam Thori said, “Patients admitted in DMCH were critical and hence are being given free treatment. The rest are being given compensation. Cheques have come and will be distributed to the injured as soon as the amount is credited.”
Meanwhile, the group led by Gurmail Singh has called a meeting of locals to decide on raising a demand before the district administration to enhance the compensation amount to Rs 1 crore each to the families of the dead apart from a government job and Rs 10 lakh each for the injured.
The six who died in the blast are: Harpal Singh Pali, election manager of Congress candidate Jasbir Singh Jassi, rag-picker Ashok Kumar, his 9-year-old daughter Barkha, and three more children, Jap Simar, Ripandeep Singh and Saurav Singla.