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Punjab

Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 1:27 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 1:27 AM (IST)

2 months on, no relief for factory blast victims’ kin

Rajpura families approach Patiala DC, seek govt job, Rs 2.5 lakh each
2 months on, no relief for factory blast victims’ kin
Four persons were killed and 11 injured in a cylinder blast at a factory in Rajpura on February 19. File photo

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 16

About two months after an ammonia cylinder blast claimed four lives here, the victims’ families are still awaiting compensation announced by the state government.

Among those killed was Gurjinder Singh (19), the sole breadwinner for his family. It was his first day on duty at Himalaya Fresh Protein Factory in Sandharsi village on the Ghanaur-Shambhu road when the incident took place on the intervening night of February 19 and 20.

The other victims were Surinder Kumar (42) of Sogalpur village, Charanjit Singh (22) of Baghora village and Manoj Kumar of Bihar — all factory workers. The 11 injured persons had later told the police that they were sleeping on the unit premises when the blast occurred.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had ordered a magisterial probe, which had nailed the factory owners for negligence. The CM had also announced ex gratia grant of Rs 1 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.

The aggrieved families have submitted an application to Patiala Deputy Commissioner Kumar Amit, demanding Rs 2.5 lakh each and a government job.

“The authorities in Rajpura have claimed that they can’t give compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh as they have not received directions in this regard,” said Kirpal Singh, sarpanch of Baghora village.

Sources said the bills were submitted by the local administration, but the treasury returned the same, citing technical issues.

The DC said the families would get Rs 1 lakh each, as announced by the government, in the next few days. “The payments have been cleared and will be disbursed soon. We will forward their cases for jobs on compassionate grounds, subject to clearance by the Personnel Department,” he added.

Probe indicted owners

  • A four-member magisterial probe committee had held factory owners Yashpal Singla and Satish Kumar responsible for the incident. 
  • The panel had submitted its report to the DC in March, following which the Directorate of Factories sealed the premises permanently under the Punjab Factories Act, 1952 
  • The report said the factory neither had fire safety equipment nor any mechanism to tackle ammonia leak. “Factory employees were not provided modern gear to deal with gas-related work,” the report mentioned.

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