A day after a horrific fire at a local cracker market reduced fireworks and other goods worth crores of rupees to ashes, the victims on Wednesday directed their ire at officials and cops for allegedly forcing them to pay bribe for clearing licence-related files, a charge that police officers deny.
Meanwhile, the new state government, which is yet to take an oath, was quick not only to announce compensation but to disburse the amount among the victims by Wednesday morning. “On the instructions of chief minister-designate Manohar Lal Khattar, the compensation amount is being disbursed among the fire victims,” Krishan Pal Gurjar, Union minister, announced after chairing an officers’ meet at Sector 16 Circuit House here.
“The cops in NIT 5 police station forced me to pay `500 for clearing a file,” alleged Mukesh Kumar, a stall owner. Similarly, dozens of other cracker stall owners also alleged that police, instead of concentrating on safety of the cracker market, focused on their share of bribe. “Anybody can level allegations at this time,” said the deputy commissioner of police, NIT, while dismissing the allegations.
Ironically, after Tuesday night’s fire incident, some disgruntled elements created a law and order problem in the NIT area, resorting to stone pelting due to which shopkeepers and petrol pump owners downed their shutters.
“We tried helping people at Dussehra grounds, but someone threw stones at my brother, due to which he suffered multiple injuries on his head. He was admitted to a private hospital,” said one Parminder Singh Bajwa.
Union minister Krishan Pal Gurjar warned the disgruntled elements of action. “Those who are in shock after defeat in the assembly polls are trying to vitiate atmosphere. But action will be taken against them,” he added.
Nearly 50 motorcycles and 16 four-wheelers were reduced to ashes and over 200 cracker shops were gutted in a major fire that engulfed Dussehra ground market here on Tuesday evening. The civic body here has woken up from the slumber and started taking precautionary measures at other cracker markets in the city.
Buzz of CM-designate’s visit keep admn on toes
The buzz of chief minister-designate Manohar Lal Khattar’s visit to Faridabad to meet victims of Tuesday’s fire incident kept administration on toes on Wednesday. The CM-designate was earlier scheduled to visit Dussehra grounds where the incident took place. The district administration made elaborate security arrangements and senior officers had started reaching the venue. But, later the officials came to know that Khattar will not be coming and instead union minister Krishan Pal Gurjar called an officers’ meet at Circuit House, Sector 16, where he announced compensation to the victims on behalf of Manohar Lal Khattar.
On the directions of CM-designate Manohar Lal Khattar, the administration disbursed `50,000 out of `1 lakh each among the cracker stall owners. The cheques were given by newly-elected MLA Seema Trikha and SDM Mahavir. The remaining amount of `50,000 will be disbursed later.