36 hrs on,CM refuses to fix responsibility on factory owner or state officials
Eight dead. Dozens injured. No information on number of people trapped in the debris of the collapsed building in Jalandhar. Yet,instead of fixing responsibility for the man-made disaster,Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal wants to pray.
Badal,who visited the spot on Tuesday,more than 36 hours after the incident,refused to answer media queries on fixing accountability for the disaster.
Instead,he said that our focus should be on saving the lives and offering prayers for their (those trapped inside) safety.
Stating that he was badly shaken by the incident, the CM said that a Paath (Sikh prayers) should be organized at the spot of the mishap.
Meanwhile,the CMs silence on fixing accountability is baffling even though Shital Vij,the owner of Shital Fabrics was arrested and booked under a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and under section 120 (B) of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).
Legal experts said that charges under PCA are a clear indication to money changing hands to let the illegal factory function for last five years. Badal refused to speak about the officials under whose tenure such illegal unit has been running.
Besides the Magisterial probe ordered earlier,the Chief Minister announced two more inquires into the collapse. While one probe would fix the criminal liability and would be conducted by the police,the second probe would look into technical aspects of the disaster,Badal said adding that all three probes would be completed within three weeks.
The technical probe would be conducted by a three-member team including Technical Advisor to Punjab Government Lt Gen (Retd) B S Dhaliwal.
Badal said the state-level disaster committee would be further strengthened to make it more efficient after removing shortcomings and other bottlenecks in its functioning. He also announced setting up of a National Disaster Rapid Force Centre in Punjab to tackle any eventuality.
However,when asked why despite the CM being the ex-officio chairman of the State Disaster Management Team,the file related to it was biting dust in the offices,the revenue and rehabilitation minister Ajit Singh Kohar,barged in and said that one should fold the hands in front of the gods and pray that such mishaps should not happen in future.
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