A team of National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes on Saturday visited Gandhi Camp in the town in order to listen to the grievances of 47 families who had lost their members seven months ago during gastroenteritis outbreak in the locality.
Led by panel vice-chairman Dr Raj Kumar Verka, the team got a first-hand information on the living condition of around 20,000 area residents and also listened to their take on the reasons for the death of 47 persons in a month in that locality.
Pleading the case of Gandhi Camp residents, local Congress MLA Ashwani Sekhri said that in October 2012, the gastro deaths had occurred due to alleged negligence of the municipal council authorities in maintaining adequate cleanliness.
He claimed that due to apathy of the civic administration, sewerage in the locality was chocked for the last many months, which led to mixing of sewage with potable water, which led to the spread of water-borne diseases.
Demanding registration of criminal cases against the municipal authorities, the Congress leader said that officials of the local bodies department, executive officer of the Batala MC and all sanitary inspectors deployed in the area were responsible for the 47 deaths and hence should be booked for culpable homicide under the relevant provisions of the IPC.
Sekhri also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for the members of the bereaved families.
Dr Verka maintained that Rs 1 lakh compensation given by the Punjab government to the kin of each deceased was "too little" and advocated increasing the amount to Rs 5 lakh. He also was in favour of action against lax officials.
He warned the civic authorities of strict action if outbreak of any disease was reported from the locality in future and also ordered them to ensure proper sanitation at Gandhi Camp.