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Gujarat school tragedy: 1 lakh for victim's kin

Last updated on: January 27, 2007 17:28 IST

The Gujarat Government on Saturday announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each to the kin of 11 students who died in the collapse of a residential school building in Surat district.

Minister of State for Education Anandiben Patel said the injured will get Rs 50,000 each. Talking to media after visiting some of the injured at the Surat Civil Hospital on Saturday morning, she said a committee has been set up to probe the incident and action would be taken against the culprits.With the recovery of two more bodies from the rubble during a nightlong search, the death toll in the residential school building collapse here has reached 11, an official said on Saturday.

Parents of the victims, all girl students, blamed the hostel authorities for the incident, saying they did not heed the warnings by several students who repeatedly complained of the building structure being weak.

Suresh Gamit, an inconsolable father of Tejal, an eighth standard student who perished in the collapse, blamed the hostel authorities for not taking complaints of the girls seriously.

"My daughter and her friends used to complain that the structure and even the stairs used to wobble during strong wind. It was just a matter of time before this incident happened," he said with tears rolling down his eyes for his only daughter.

Father of another victim, Deepika Chaudhary, echoed similar sentiments. "Children had complained about the poor building structure but nothing was done about it. Even a government survey was underway to strengthen the structure but the work was very slow," he said.Each year government grants are given to several institutes for their needs. If there were any discrepancies in the way the institute in question handled the funds, then it would be looked into, the Minister noted.

Meanwhile, Mandvi taluka legislator and son of former Chief Minister Amarsinh Chaudhary, Tushar Chaudhary visited the mishap site and accused the state's BJP Government of acting slow in the rescue operation.

Terming the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority as a failure, he said the government authorities arrived late at the site and also tried to shoo away the locals who were the first to respond to the crisis.

At least 14 others, all tribal girls, are receiving treatment for various injuries at a hospital in neighbouring town of Vyara, the Collector said.

The roof and staircase of the four storeyed building, which houses the government-run Adarsh Nivasi Shala for tribal girls, had collapsed on Friday evening.

State Education Minister Anandiben Patel, who rushed to the site on Friday night, told mediapersons that the government would investigate the incident thoroughly.

The building was constructed by the government to cater to the education of tribal girls living in this predominantly tribal area.

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