For seven years, he fought and waited for compensation after his arms were amputated due to the negligence of the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) and now Sukhbir Singh (17) wants the Punjab chief minister to keep his promise.
Born in a poor Dalit family and son of a labourer, the plight of Sukhbir Singh, a resident of Urrang village near Malout, was highlighted by the Hindustan Times last year. Following the news report, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had expressed desire to meet Sukhbir Singh after he passed Class-10 exam with a good grade even as he had lost his arms when he was in Class 5.
The PSPCL had agreed to give him Rs. 3.5 lakh as compensation after the CM met the boy on July 1, 2012, and promised him free education, a European-style toilet and artificial arms to bring some comfort to his tough life.
"I will only get the compensation money after on turning 18. As of now, all the money is deposited in bank and I cannot use it. Initially, Rs. 1.5 lakh was paid by PSPCL officials to close the case and the amount had been spent on the treatment," said Sukhbir, citing the reason behind the delay in awarding compensation.
"All these years, the PSPCL denied the compensation and harassed me. I have made several rounds to the deputy commissioner's office in Muktsar with the hope to get artificial arms, a European-style toilet and quality education. I have met the DC two times and have not got any response," said Sukhbir.
The CM had given Rs. 25,000 to him when he met Sukhbir. "He had told me to stay in touch with local officials to meet other promises," said Sukhbir.
"I was 10 when the unfortunate incident occurred. One day I saw some power wires lying along the road leading to my home. Curious, I touched the wires in which current was flowing," said Sukhbir.
Sukhbir hesitates to explain that why he is in the dire need of a European-style toilet and do not want take his mother's help.
Last year, the Punjab School Education Board had held back his Class-10 result, which was released on HT's intervention. HT had also honoured Sukhbir at 'Under 30 achievers' meet organised at Chandigarh in August 2012.
"I want to study and it is only possible if I get artificial arms. I can live independently," said Sukhbir.
Deputy commissioner Paramjit Singh said, "I do not remember if Sukhbir had come to me. I will take care of his case if he visits me again."