Meghalaya bus accident: Garo Students' Union demands ex-gratia amount to be increased to Rs 5 lakh
Expressing condolences to the families of the deceased in the September 29 accident at Nongchram’s Ringdi River of East Garo Hills that left eight people dead and several others injured, the Garo Students' Union (GSU), Khasi Hills Zone, on Sunday demanded the ex-gratia amount offered by the state government be increased to “not less than Rs 5 lakh”.
In a statement issued on October 3, the union stated that they strongly oppose the Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia and Rs 50,000 solatium for the injured passengers offered by the government and demanded the amount be increased to "not less than 5 lakh".
It added that even this amount is incomparable to the loss of lives suffered by the people. The GSU also stated that the state government should provide the best and free treatment to those injured, even if it means shifting them to private hospitals.
The union’s statement also made note of the menace of drivers of "MTC, sumos and other commercial vehicles" operating services while intoxicated. It has urged the ruling dispensation to take strict action against such illegal activity for the harm they cause to both life and property.
The statement also called for attention to roadside restaurants (dhabas) as well as hotels and eateries that serve free alcohol to the drivers in order to attract more business. The GSU further called on authorities to "monitor the condition of the vehicle" and, overall, improve the safety of transportation.
The union thanked the people of Rongjeng Nongchram, various NGOs, police department and the SRT (Search and Rescue Team), and all the people for their help, noting that the state government has not provided any recovery vehicles to the East Garo Hills district for emergencies, and locals had to rely on private service providers to recover the missing bodies.
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