Apprehensive of losing the winning streak in the by-elections for the Jhabua-Ratlam Lok Sabha constituency in the aftermath of Petlawad blast, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is going an extra mile to ‘placate’ the blast hit, even if it means naming a road after the victims or sanctioning long pending demand for a bridge in the town.
According to a report submitted to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and minister in-charge for Jhabua Antar Singh Arya, on relief and rehabilitation of blast victims, a 500-metre concrete road in Bamania village of Petlawad town would be named after Prince and Prashant, two friends who died in the explosion that left more than 100 dead.
Also, in addition to Rs 5 lakh compensation for the family members of the deceased, the CM has asked officials to built a memorial at Petlawad. The report was submitted on Friday by Jhabua collector Aruna Gupta to CM at mantralaya in Bhopal.
“Overall Rs 3.55 crore has been transferred into the bank accounts of heir of the deceased. Payment is withheld only in four cases, where two of the deceased do not have children (legal heir), one has two wives and in one case where the name of the deceased was not on the PM’s report,” Arya told HT.
The report further states that Rs 33.50 lakh has been distributed among the injured as well. Apart from this, 10 hospitals in Indore and Dahod (in Gujarat) were also paid Rs 41.91 lakh to take care of the injured admitted to their hospitals.
Further loosening its purse strings, the government has also sanctioned houses under Indira Awas Scheme for 17 relatives of the blast victims. Financial aid has also been sanctioned to three to buy irrigation pumps too.
About 1,000 students would be given cycles to go to schools and colleges under other schemes. Six schools would be upgraded to high school and higher secondary schools too. The report also mentions that a bridge would be built at Petlawad--a lond pending demand of the residents of the town. Six relatives of the dead have also been given employment, says the report.
Main accused still absconding
Police are yet to trace Rajendra Kaswa, the main accused in the Petlawad blast even as different theories are doing the rounds about how he has evaded arrest seven days after the explosion.
While one theory says what is working in Kaswa’s favour is that he is not carrying a mobile phone so that police cannot track his movements and the other theory is that he is being protected by a section of the ruling BJP and the RSS.
Kaswa, who is not a hardened criminal well versed with the art of dodging the police has managed to evade arrest so far, police said.
“According to Kaswa’s family members, he had left his mobile phone at home before leaving for his shop on the day of the blast and has not returned since,” said a police officer investigating the case.
“He is without his mobile phone.” Initially police were clueless about his whereabouts but a day after the blast his location was traced to Ratlam and then somewhere near the state’s border with Maharashtra, he said.
The Congress has another theory as to why Kaswa is still untraceable. “Kaswa was close to some BJP and RSS leaders and these people… are helping him now,” said Congress spokesperson KK Mishra.
“Police will not able to arrest him and he will probably surrender …on the behest of some politicians,” he said.
Another theory said that Kaswa boarded the Golden Temple Express from Dahod and fled to Mumbai but police cross-checked it and could not trace him.
Police teams have been sent to various places in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in search of Kaswa, but so far they have returned empty-handed.
Police are now concentrating on friends and relatives of the accused family in three states — Maharashtra, Rajsthan and Madhya Pradesh — to trace him.
After some media reports said that Kaswa was killed in the blast, police claimed that they have witnesses who have seen Kaswa after the incident.
While many witnesses claim that Kaswa was blown to pieces in the explosions and his charred remains might be trapped under the debris while there are a few who claim he escaped from the blast site. On Thursday, Jhabua additional superintendent of police Seema Alwa had said: “We have evidence that Kaswa is alive but for confirmation we are closely examining the unidentified bodies.”