Over four years after the Punjab government announced ex gratia compensation for the kin of the 20 people who died in an accident near Hoshiarpur and for over a dozen of the injured, none of them have received any money so far. The accident had occurred near Manguwal village on Punjab-Himachal border, where the victims were returning from a pilgrimage in a mini-truck that turned turtle on a steep turn.
Most of the victims were daily wagers from villages of Fatehpur and Bajaja in Kapurthala district. On October 10, 2013, the then CM Parkash Singh Badal had announced Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to the injured.
In the accident, Jagir Singh (63) of Fatehpur village lost 14 of his family members, including his wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and niece. His son Harjit Singh suffered serious injury in leg. “The government had announced a meagre amount for the injured, and that too has not been paid to them to date. I had to spend Rs 2.80 lakh for the treatment of my son’s leg,” he said.
“I have an 11-year-old grand-daughter who is mentally and physically challenged, and there is no one to look after her but me,” he said. “I kept her in an orphanage for a few days but the poor treatment with such children by the staff did not allow my conscience to keep her there and I brought her home.”