The total cost of preventive security measures and the damage done to public and private property in Punjab in view of the rape case verdict on Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been pegged at Rs 200 crore as per state government estimates. A statement of account will soon be submitted before the High Court. The HC had earlier said that dera’s property should used to generate money to pay the damages.
Sources said the government has asked various departments to prepare list of the damage suffered and other costs incurred, and make official bills. “We will submit these bills to the HC and make out a case,” said a functionary.
A senior functionary of the government said that Punjab would have to pay for deployment of 85 companies of paramilitary forces who were manning the state before and after the verdict. The paramilitary personnel have already spent 13 days in the state. It is not known how many more days the deployment would last.
Punjab had also pressed its 10,000 police personnel in the field to guard important installations, public property and to ensure law and order in the state.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had even ordered withdrawal of security of VVIPs and asked them to fan out in the state. The government would seek a direction from HC to dera to pay the state.
Sources revealed that the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) has already submitted to the government that they have incurred losses to the tune of Rs 5 crore during the period for which buses did not ply on the roads. The government had ordered buses not to ply to ensure safety of travellers.
The PRTC had also pressed 200 buses soon after the violence in Panchkula to ferry dera supporters to different parts of Malwa in Punjab. These buses had made total 600 rounds from Panchkula to different parts in Malwa to ensure the dera supporters reached their destinations. Amarinder later said that the buses were provided to ensure that the dera supporters were packed inside the buses and taken to their destinations so that they did not loiter and indulge in violence. The government will also seek the cost of running these buses. Also, incidents of violence and arson were reported in Punjab at 52 places. Damage was done to railways stations, power units and electricity grids. The government would seek damages for all these instances of violence.
Punjab DGP Suresh Arora was given the state government-owned chopper to fly to different parts to ensure law and order. The cost of these sorties would also be added to the bill.