Special Correspondent

Appoints panel to improve security at places of religious, tourist significance

An ex-gratia payment of Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased

Girls who lost their parents would get grant of Rs.2 lakh apart from Rs. 4,000 pm allowance

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government on Saturday announced a relief and rehabilitation package for the victims of this past Tuesday’s stampede at the ancient Chamunda Mata temple in Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur and appointed a Cabinet sub-committee for formulating a policy to improve security at places of religious and tourist significance.

The State Cabinet took the decisions at a meeting called here hurriedly before the expected announcement of schedule for the Rajasthan Assembly elections next week, which would be accompanied by the enforcement of the model code of conduct. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje presided over the Cabinet meeting.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore told reporters that the State Government would make an ex-gratia payment of Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased, whose official figure now stood at 215. The 65 injured have already been paid Rs.50,000 each and they are being treated free of cost at the government hospitals in Jodhpur.

The Cabinet sub-committee will frame a policy to improve security, transport and infrastructure at the religious and tourist places as well as fairs held regularly across the State. Mr. Rathore said the sub-committee, headed by Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, would submit its report within a fortnight and another high-power committee headed by the State Chief Secretary would ensure speedy implementation of the policy decisions.

Mr. Rathore skirted questions on the Jodhpur district administration not registering any case against anyone in connection with the unprecedented tragedy and affirmed that the negligence and lapses, if any, would be probed by the Judicial Commission headed by Justice Jas Raj Chopra.

The Minister said a criminal case against the Mehrangarh Museum Trust or former ruler Gaj Singh could not be registered “merely on conjectures and without investigation”. “Such a step is out of question when the judicial inquiry into the accident has been instituted.”

Mr. Rathore’s remarks assumed significance amid reports that two complaints had been filed in a city court in Jodhpur earlier in the day seeking registration of criminal cases against the authorities. The court has listed the cases for hearing on Monday.

As part of the package, boys who lost their parents in the tragedy will get Rs.4,000 per month until they reach the age of majority. Girls in this category will get an additional one-time grant of Rs.2 lakh as fixed deposit. Widows, those rendered disabled in the mishap and families losing their earning members will also get a monthly maintenance allowance.

The package also provides for education of children of the eligible families, marriage of daughters and livelihood for the affected families. Mr. Rathore said the State Government would give financial grants of Rs.1 lakh to widows and Rs.50,000 to others.

The Cabinet approved raising of income criterion for the creamy layer among the OBCs from Rs.2.5 lakh to Rs.4.5 lakh a year. Mr. Rathore said the eligibility criterion for the Economic Backward Class had also been raised from Rs.1.5 lakh to Rs.2.5 lakh a year.