No funds to compensate stampede victims: Mayawati

Lucknow, March 5 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Friday said that her state was facing an ‘acute financial crisis’ and was not in a position to give any monetary compensation to the families of those killed or injured in Thursday’s tragedy and urged the central government to do so instead.

‘In view of the acute financial crisis currently faced by the state, I am appealing to the central government to be generous in giving away decent compensation to the families of those who have lost their lives or were injured in the unfortunate stampede at the ashram run by spiritual guru Kripaluji Maharaj in Mangarh village of Pratapgarh district,’ Mayawati said in a press statement issued here Friday night.

‘However, in case the union government expresses its inability to pay, then we will squeeze our resources to mobilise funds for the purpose,’ she added.

Seeking to justify her stand, the chief minister said: ‘The centre does provide the states with a Calamities Relief Fund (CRF), but that is meant to be utilised only towards natural disasters and not tragedies like this one.’

She went on to add, ‘I have therefore asked all my party MPs to call on the prime minister and seek his help for creating a central fund to meet the financial needs arising during such human tragedies.’

The statement, however, added that necessary directions have been issued to the local administration to ensure that all necessary assistance is made available to the victims.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday announced Rs.200,000 compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund for the next of kin of the victims.

‘We have decided to make, from the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund, an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs.50,000 to those seriously injured,’ he announced in the Lok Sabha.

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