Finally, as many as 10 families of the Bathinda district farmers, who had committed suicide in distress, will get their ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh from the district administration after their long wait for around three years.
Blame it on the government apathy; the families were denied the ex-gratia amount despite their names having figured in the government list of beneficiaries. On one hand, the state government had been making tall claims to providing immediate relief to families going through the trauma after suicide by their family member, while on the other, the aggrieved family members of the Bathinda district were being compelled to make rounds of the government offices to get the compensation since around three years.
The revenue and rehabilitation department had failed to release the compensation even after repeated reminders from Rampura sub-division office to the department concerned in the past three years. The reason cited was that the revenue department then had erroneously mentioned names of the above aggrieved families as residents of other villages.
Nine of the families from Pitho village and one family from Rampura village in Bathinda district were to get the compensation as per the list prepared by the state government on the basis of the data of the victims’ families released by three state-run universities in 2012.
It may be mentioned that on the basis of universities’ report, the Punjab government in 2013 had ordered the deputy commissioners across state to disburse financial assistance of `2 lakh each to the families of farmers who had committed suicide.
Mothu Singh Kothada, senior vice-president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), said the revenue department had even corrected the record after victims’ families submitted their residence proofs added with written testimonies by village panchayats in families’ favour.
“Despite appropriate corrections in the official records, the administration has been denying pensions to these families for no reasons for the past three years. We had even met the deputy commissioner several times, but the families only got false assurances. The funds have now been released after the families threatened to sit on hunger strike,” he said.
Sub-divisional magistrate Narinder Singh Dhaliwal said the senior revenue officials were informed and repeated reminders were sent to the deputy commissioner and the revenue department to release payments of the victims’ families at the earliest. “The revenue department has recently released the amount and the cheques for the same will be disbursed on Monday,” the SDM said.