Over six years after a road accident in Hoshiarpur claimed the lives of 20 persons from poor Dalit families, the victims are yet to receive compensation announced by the state government. At the time of the accident on October 10, 2013, it was the SAD-BJP government that was in power.
The then Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal had announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased and Rs. 25,000 to the injured.
Jagir Singh (65) from Fatehpur village told The Indian Express that he had lost 14 persons of his immediate and extended family including his wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, while his son Harjit Singh was permanently handicapped due to severe injury to his leg.
“Government had announced very meager amount for the injured and that too has not been paid till date…I had to spend Rs 2.80 lakh, which I borrowed for the treatment of my son and did not get a single penny from the government,” he said.
Jagir Singh added: “Even Hoshiarpur district authorities had forwarded our case to the government for compensation, but no one is taking care of it at the government level…can’t the government spare funds for compensation.”
The case of Joginder, who had fractured his hand and spend Rs 50,000 on his treatment, was pursued by MLA, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, but that too failed to yield any result.
The records of the Deputy Commissioner Office Hoshiarpur revealed that the entire report about deceased and injured was sent to the CM office on October 11, 2013 for releasing ex-gratia to the victims from CM’s Relief Fund, but no response till date. The case has been pending despite power changing hands from SAD to the Congress.
Punjab Cabinet Minister from Hoshiarpur, Sunder Sham Arora, said: “Even an ambulance was not available that day and I took several victims in my vehicle to the civil hospital.” He said that he was not aware that SAD-BJP government had not released that amount. “I will take up this matter with Punjab Chief Minister and get the needful done,” he added.
The accident had occurred near Manguwal village on the Punjab-Himachal border due to steep turn on the road.
A ‘mini truck’ with 62 persons had fallen into an 80-ft gorge near Hoshiarpur killing 20 persons and leaving 17 injured. Those killed and injured mostly belonged to Fatehpur and Bajaja villages from Kapurthala district and were daily wagers.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines