Punjab may up compensation for Amritsar train tragedy victims

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Chandigarh, Oct 21 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked officials to prepare a detailed socio-economic profile of the victims of the Amritsar train tragedy, hinting at a higher compensation for the aggrieved families amid growing criticism that the government was not doing enough, and quickly, to alleviate their pain.

“The Chief Minister told his Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar that the government will have to do more than just give Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the kin of the dead, especially in cases where the victims are poor,” a spokesperson for the Chief Minister said.

Singh directed the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner of Police to make a detailed socio-economic profile of each of the victims.

On Friday, at least 59 people lost their lives, and 60 others were injured when a train ran through a crowd that had gathered on a railway track to watch ‘Ravana’ effigies go up in flames on the occasion of Dussehra.

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The Chief Minister also directed that ration, clothing, and medicines be provided to the families of the victims expeditiously, as most of them came from an economically weak background.

Singh, whose government is facing flak for its tardy response to the tragedy and for not doing enough for the affected families, also reviewed the relief and rehabilitation work with the Crisis Management Group of ministers headed by Health Minister Brahm Mohindra.

“The Chief Minister, who had met some of the survivors of the accident in the hospitals yesterday, was moved by tales of two young women, who had lost their entire families, including children and husbands, and in one case even the in-laws,” the spokesperson said.

Singh told his Chief Principal Secretary that a proper system would need to be evolved to ensure that such survivors were rehabilitated by the state government at the earliest, and were not left to fend for themselves.

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He also directed the CMG to take immediate steps for early disbursement of the compensation.

“All steps should be taken for an effective rehabilitation of the survivors and the families of the victims,” Singh said at the review meeting with the Crisis Management Group, set up on Friday to handle relief and rehabilitation of the affected families.

–IANS

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