They say they have to run from pillar to post to claim the dues

Victims of accidents, bereaved families and lawyers allege that the transport corporations including Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) are causing inordinate delay in disbursal of compensation awarded by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal. Some of them said even it took several years in settling claims.

S.Nagalakshmi (45) has been dragged from pillar to post to get the compensation from the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) after she lost her husband in a road accident on September 1, 2005. Her husband K. Solaiyan, a carpenter who was pillion-riding home on a motorcycle, died on the spot when an MTC bus hit the vehicle near Ambattur.

Ms. Nagalakshmi filed a petition before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal in 2006 claiming compensation for the death of her husband. After five years, the Tribunal awarded Rs. 5.28 lakh as compensation with interest.

However, Ms.Nagalakshmi alleged that “the MTC was dragging its feet over the disbursal of the compensation. After my husband’s death, I work as house-maid to bring up three daughters and surviving by borrowings.”

D.Praveen Kumar was a tenth standard student when he suffered grievous injury while trying to board an MTC bus near Tiruverkadu in 2002. He fell and was caught under the wheels of the bus, leaving him disabled for life.

In his case also, the Tribunal ordered the MTC to pay compensation Rs. 17 lakh in 2009. But, the compensation has not been given to him yet.

The case is not different with those claiming compensation for minor injuries. In 2000, G. Saravanan, a coolie, was sleeping on a platform near Chennai Central when a rashly driven MTC bus hit him and severely injured his right leg. After a nearly 10-year wait, the Tribunal ordered the MTC to pay Rs. 69,000 as compensation to him in 2010.

“The transport corporation has not settled my compensation even after my lawyer moved execution proceedings and orders passed even on that. With my broken leg, I cannot move from pillar to post to redress my grievances,” he said. It took nearly eight years for the compensation to reach a bereaved family of an army major who was killed in a road accident.

Mohan Ponna (35), who was serving at Pathankot Infantry, Punjab, had come down to

The Nilgiris along with his family for training at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, in 2004. On April 3 that year, the car in which the family was returning from Tirupathi was hit by a State Transport Corporation bus near Tiruppur.

He died on the spot while his wife and son escaped unhurt. Soon thereafter, a petition was filed by his wife Shwetha Ponna in the Accidents Claims Tribunal, Secundarabad, claiming compensation for the death of her husband. However, the Tribunal award ordering a compensation of Rs. 16 lakh was delivered only in 2008.

Her lawyer Srividya said: “The litigant and I had to undergo a great ordeal to execute the order and even after a court in Chennai had ordered attachment of bus in last June. The cheque was provided only when we went to attach a bus belonging to corporation in Koyambedu bus stand last November.”

A.A. Venkatesan, advocate, said, “In such cases, if the transport corporation does not initiate payment of compensation after a Tribunal award, we have to file execution petition and obtain an order. In many cases, the order of court could not be executed properly. The moment we go to attach properties or execute the order on the transport corporation, the authorities bide some time citing delay in receiving funds from the State government. In some cases, the authorities may file appeal before High Court after several delays.”

N. Vijayaraghavan, president of Law Association, said “The transport corporation authorities seldom come forward to settle the cases before Lok Adalat. If the cases were referred to adalats, they would come to attend the proceedings but rarely settle the cases.”

Srinivasa Ragavan, an advocate, suggested that transport corporations bring their fleet of buses under insurance cover like those in other States.

“If such a model is adopted in the State, the delay in disbursal of compensation could be curtailed considerably.”

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