Gangtok: Sikkim’s State Disaster Relief Fund will disburse a total of Rs 2.05 crore for the 410 Covid-19 victims in the state so far as per the guidelines of granting an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to each family in which a person dies.
The state has so far disbursed the ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 each to 75 victim families, specifically being handed to the next of kin of the victim or relatives, after approval from the Panchayat or the block or district level officers concerned. Of the 75 beneficiaries, 45 were from the former East Sikkim district, inclusive of the newly-demarcated Pakyong and Gangtok districts.
Namchi district registered 26 disbursements, Geyzing and Mangan districts have distributed ex gratia to 2 victims each, while Soreng district is yet to initiate the process, despite recording 30 Covid-19 deaths so far.
The age group of such victims range from a 10-day-old baby to a 98-year-old senior citizen.
The disaster management authority has seen an increase in their disaster relief funds by Rs 18 crore since 2019, up from Rs 38 crore in 2019 to Rs 56 crore till 2022.
Disaster Management Secretary Sarala Rai, speaking exclusively with EastMojo on January 12, shared, “There have been 314 registrations so far for the Covid-19 ex-gratia disbursement to the victims or their next of kin or family member. We are yet to receive registration from 96 such victims or their families. The casualty tally in the state so far is 410. These 314 registration have come since the notification was dated on November 26.”
Rai went on to mention how district magistrates, block level officers and panchayats have been sensitising the families of the deceased about the disbursement at a personal level. “By taking the current casualty list, we will have disbursed around Rs. 2.05 crore and are hopeful that the families of the remaining 96 victims will also register soon. But the claim for disbursement from the victim’s family must come within 30 days of the death with a valid death certificate.”
The secretary added, “There has been no differentiation on a special disbursement for healthcare workers or frontline workers; all the victims are being equally, as has been suggested by the Supreme Court of India which is monitoring the disbursement. There is no special budget announced for the disbursement of ex-gratia and it will be carried through the State Disaster Relief Fund.”
The Sikkim Disaster Management department had issued a notification on November 26, placing the requirement of a COVID-19 death certificate as well as special form to be filled in order to avail the ex-gratia. The same has been directed for submission to the district headquarters with the magistrates having been identified as chairpersons at district disaster management authority.
The notification published as a government advertisement was published in local newspapers. However, the state government’s Sikkim Herald was not intimated about the same, a source said. The notification along with the form for ex-gratia claim was circulated widely on January 11.
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