Kochi: The high court has directed the state government to immediately grant the remaining amount of Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia that is due to the kin of the victims of Pettimudi landslide disaster in Idukki.
The court directed that the money should be granted at the earliest after examining the relevant documents of heirship. It clarified that those who feel that the ex gratia amount is not adequate can move the civil court for further compensation.
The court direction came while disposing of a petition filed by former Devikulam Block Panchayat member Gomathy Aguistine pointing out that the government granted Rs 10 lakh as compensation for the families Kozhikode air crash victims while only Rs 5 lakh was announced for Pettimudi victims even though the two tragedies took place on the same day. This amounted to discrimination, she alleged.
The two tragedies struck Kerala on August 6. The petitioner argued that the compensation should have a unified guideline. The government said that the remaining amount would be given once the petitioners produce certificates proving their legal heirship.
Government to bear cost of children's education
The government informed the high court that the eight families who lost houses and household goods in the Pettimudi disaster would be given 5 cents land each. The government will bear the cost of education of children whose parents/guardians died in the tragedy. The Centre has also announced Rs 2 lakh and the Tamil Nadu government Rs 3 lakh for the kin of the victims.
The Kannan Devan Company has promised assistance for building houses besides Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the victims. The division bench comprising chief justice ruled that the government was taking steps to mitigate the impact of the disaster.
The court said the argument that the Pettimudi disaster victims were being discriminated against cannot be accepted. It hoped that Kannan Devan Company would fulfil its promise of providing assistance to the families of victims.
The court said the disaster affected people could approach the civil court to seek compensation by directly furnishing the evidence regarding the loss of life and property.