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State compensation for only 548 Covid victims so far in Kerala, pay rest in a week: SC  

The SC on Friday pulled up the Kerala, Rajasthan and Maharashtra governments over delays in compensating the families of those who died because of Covid.

Published: 18th December 2021 02:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th December 2021 02:36 AM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (File Photo| EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM :  The state government faces a daunting task to distribute the ex-gratia to the relatives of Covid victims in a week’s time as stipulated by the Supreme Court. As per the affidavit filed by the state, it has given compensation to just 548 families so far. Besides, the toll is expected to jump as the health department is yet to process 12,399 appeals for inclusion in the death list.The toll reached 44,189 on Friday. 

The SC on Friday pulled up the Kerala, Rajasthan and Maharashtra governments over delays in compensating the families of those who died because of Covid. The court also issued notice to the Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Delhi governments, seeking additional data on the subject.

In October, the court approved the payment of Rs 50,000 to the families of those who died due to Covid; this was to be paid over amounts paid by Centre and state under various schemes.

A bench comprising Justice M R Shah and Justice B V Nagarathna slammed the sorry state of affairs in Kerala and said: “As a welfare state, it is their duty to pay compensation to people who have already suffered. The Kerala government has been directed to pay the remaining claimants within a week.” 

Victims’ compensation: Revenue minister vows to sort out issues

The state took initiative in setting up district-level committees to identify the beneficiaries, after the Supreme Court directed the Centre to provide a one-time compensation of Rs 50,000 to the kin of people who died of Covid, in October. But it took another month to set up a portal to make an online application.

The process was affected mainly due to the delay in setting up a transparent mechanism to report deaths and provide a death certificate to make online applications in the portal set up by the revenue department. The ex-gratia distribution was delayed again as there was confusion regarding the definition of ‘next kin’ of the victim. The department issued an order on November 25 bringing clarity on the issue.

The number of Covid deaths reported on October 1 was 25,182. It jumped to 38,737 and surpassed the Kernataka to become the second state with the highest death toll, on November 25. On Friday, total covid deaths jumped to 44,189. “There has been a delay at the village office level in processing the applications,” said an official.

Revenue Minister K Rajan said the department has taken steps to sort out the issues and given direction to speed up the proceedings. “In the wake of the SC observation, we will hold a meeting of district collectors on Saturday to speed up the compensation distribution. The Land Revenue Commissioner will ascertain the pending applications in each district,” he said.



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