Over a month after the five-storey building of Amarson Polymers collapsed in Ludhiana following a major fire, a committee constituted and led by deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, has finally declared dead three firemen, whose bodies were never found from the debris.
Leading fireman Manohar Lal and two contractual firefighters Manpreet Singh and Sukhdev Singh have been declared dead following the legal opinion taken from deputy district attorney and an inquiry conducted by Sub-Divisional Magistrate Amarjit Singh Bains.
As per the proceedings of the meeting of the committee held on December 15 (copy with The Indian Express), it has been stated that since the bodies of three men were never found and fire continued to rage in the debris for at least four to five days, they should be considered dead on the basis of legal opinion given by deputy district attorney, who suggested that ‘three men can be declared dead on the basis of eyewitness accounts and statements’ and their death certificates can be issued to the families.
The committee, apart from Ludhiana DC, had MC commissioner, civil surgeon, deputy commissioner of police, sub divisional magistrate (east) and additional deputy commissioner (general) as its members. The committee has also passed directions to births/deaths registrar of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to issue their death certificates at the earliest for the families.
Meanwhile, in a separate communication on December 18, additional deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, Iqbal Singh Sandhu has written to the principal secretary to the Chief Minister stating that since three firemen have now been declared dead, the compensation amount of Rs 10 lakh be released for their families too.
In an inferno that happened at Suffian Chowk of Ludhiana on November 20, building of plastic factory came down like pack of cards killing sixteen persons including nine firefighters (of which three bodies were never found).
SDM Amarjit Singh Bains confirmed that three missing firemen have been declared dead by the committee.
Ludhiana MC commissioner Jaskiran Singh said, “We are yet to receive a letter from DC office based on the decision taken by the committee declaring them dead. As soon as letter is received, we will immediately issue death certificates to the families.” Malkit Singh, father of late fireman Manpreet Singh said that administration should now not make them wait more. “It has already been more than a month. We need documents for several formalities,” he said.