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Batala blast victims' kin seek govt jobs, ban on illegal firecracker units

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 6, 2019  | 19:21 IST

Batala (Pb), Sep 6 (PTI) Some family members of those killed in the blast at a firecracker unit at Batala in Gurdaspur district early this week met Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and urged him to ban such illegal factories in residential areas to prevent the recurrence of such mishaps. The victims' families also requested Singh to provide government jobs to the kin of deceased. They met the chief minister when he visited the blast site on Friday to take stock of the situation. Tight security arrangements were made by police ahead of his visit here and media was not allowed to cover the chief minister's interaction with the family members of blast victims. A special white screen was erected around the site by police, which said the “view cutter” was part of the CM's security arrangement. Twenty-three people were killed in the blast at a firecracker factory in Guru Ramdas colony on Jalandhar Road in Batala of Gurdaspur district on Wednesday. During his short visit, the chief minister was apprised by Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujjwal of the situation of the building where crackers were stocked and the damage suffered by adjoining buildings. Amarinder consoled a man whose wife and three-and-half year old son was killed in the blast. A woman who met Singh urged him to ensure full compensation for loss of lives and property in the blast. “It is our request that we should be fully compensated for the loss we suffered in the blast. A government job should also be given to kin of each deceased,” said the woman. She also urged Singh to ban all such illegal firecracker factories in residential units to prevent mishaps in future. “You have the power and you can do everything,” woman told the CM, who was accompanied by state minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar. After visiting the site, the chief minister visited the civil hospital and enquired about the well-being of injured. Earlier, BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh, and Sangrur MP and chief of Punjab's AAP unit Bhagwant Mann also visited the blast site and met the injured in the hospital. Chugh demanded a probe by a sitting Punjab and Haryana High Court judge into the blast and action against officials and others found guilty in the inquiry. Deputy Commissioner Ujjwal, meanwhile, said his next priority was to ensure the benefits of government schemes like widow pension, registration under Sarb Sehat Bima Yojana' reach the victims' family members. He further said the estimates of property loss in the blast would be assessed and entire detail in this regard would be sent to higher authorities for further action. Meanwhile, some family members of deceased termed the Rs two lakh ex-gratia payment as inadequate and demanded a hike in the ex-gratia amount. The state government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs two lakh each to the relatives of those killed and Rs 50,000 for each of the seven severely injured persons. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX

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