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Mirchpur commission fails to settle even a single claim

A commission,constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court of India,has missed its first deadline,without even settling even a single claim,as on date - all thanks to the red-tapism involved in the Haryana government’s functioning.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh | Published: February 4, 2012 3:42:30 am

A commission,constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court of India,has missed its first deadline,without even settling even a single claim,as on date – all thanks to the red-tapism involved in the Haryana government’s functioning.

The seriousness on part of the state government to provide justice to the people,who incurred heavy losses during the Mirchpur arson in Hisar district of Haryana,in 2010,is evident from the fact that the Mirchpur Claim Commission,has missed its first deadline on December 30. The Commission,which failed to settle even a single claim in the stipulated time frame,has got its first extension till March 31,now.

The ground reality of the Commission is even more shocking. Even after missing its first deadline of six months,the Commission has yet not got its annual budgetary grant of Rs 16 lakh. The grant has to be used for various purposes,including advertisements pertaining to the functioning of commission,paying telephone,internet bills,salaries to the chairperson of the Commission and the staff,which has been recently recruited and fuel expenses of the vehicle used by the chairperson.

Ironically,the Commission has failed to even recruit adequate staff till date,even as the chairperson,RC Bansal,a retired District and Sessions Judge,who also served as a Legal Remembrancer in Haryana,keeps knocking at the doors of Haryana bureaucrats to get adequate funds sanctioned to get the commission finally rolling.

A visit to the Commission’s one-room office in the old Public Works Department building,Sector 19 of Chandigarh reveals the sad state of affairs. A four-member staff is sitting idle,either basking in the sun or using the computers. The chairperson,RC Bansal,is most of the time absent from his office and his staff says that he has gone to the Haryana Civil Secretariat to get the budgetary grant allocated.

Despite repeated phone calls,messages left in the office,Bansal could not be contacted.

A senior Haryana government official,however,replied that the budgetary allocations are financial matters and it takes time for the government to finally approve such grants. On condition of anonymity,the senior government official even added that when and if such grants are to be used for such Commissions’ functioning,the pace gets even slower.

The staff posted at the Commission’s office claim that they had written to various government departments,deputy commissioners of the districts to forward their claims/ damages if any incurred by the government agencies. “Be it the transport,railways,forest department or the private people,the Commission’s scope shall be widened to many aspects,but for that the commission,first needs to get started in its full strength”,said a Commission staff.

The road and rail traffic in Haryana remained badly disrupted for around 12 days,when sympathisers of those booked by Haryana police for the Mirchpur arson attack case,blocked the traffic in protest in Hisar district of Haryana. The Mirchpur arson allegedly caused a loss of over Rs 33 crore to people who failed to use the road and rail network across the Haryana due to the agitation in 2010. A resident of Mirchpur,Jaswant Singh,had moved a petition in the Supreme Court and sought action against people who indulged in the attack on a Dalit locality in Mirchpur,in which a 70-yr-old man and his physically challenged daughter,belonging to Dalit community,were burnt to death by members of the upper caste Jat community,on April 21,2010.

The petitioner’s counsel,Colin Gonsalves had apprised the court that the total loss incurred by people due to the Mirchpur arson was estimated over Rs 33 crore and the state government had yet not identified the people responsible for that.

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