The families of 13 schoolchildren killed in the collision between a school van and a truck have said that the government's haste in handing them the ex-gratia was insensitive and was painful.
"Aje Tan Sade Bachain de sive bhi thande nahin hoey te sarkar jabari sadian jeban che chek pa rahi" (Funeral pyres of our children have not cooled down yet, but the government is forcibly putting cheques of ex-gratia in our pockets)" said Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Talwani Bharo village, whose son Kanwarpreet Singh was among the victims.
On Thursday, the Punjab government distributed Rs. 30.25 lakh ex-gratia grant to the kin of the deceased.
Sarabjit Singh claimed that the government's haste was painful.
He added that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal should have visited both villages to console the bereaved families. He said that chief minister had visited Dalla village near Nurmahal in May 2009 to console families of those school children killed in school van-train collision.
Sarabjit Singh alleged that the Nakodar SDM had asked them to assemble at one place to receive cheques of the grant, but families declined and officials then came to their houses to deliver cheques. He said that he had asked village sarpanch to construct a room in village school with Rs. 2 lakh grant. Sarabjit Singh said that the driver of the truck which collided with school van was innocent and helped in rescue of children from the damaged vehicle before fleeing from the spot.
Head Constable Karnail Singh who lost his daughter Gurleen Kaur has refused to accept the ex-gratia cheque and has asked the officials to spend the money on maintenance of school vehicles.