Tribune News Service
Amritsar, August 12
Keeping in view the well-being of children, who lost their parents in the spurious liquor tragedy, the district Child Welfare Committee of Tarn Taran has handed over the custody of three siblings to their paternal relatives. The eldest of the four children would be accommodated at a government-run children’s home in Hoshiarpur.
Sukhdev Singh (34) — father of Karanbir (13), Gurpreet (11), Arshpreet (9) and Sandeep (5) — had died within 24 hours of consuming chemical-laced cheap liquor on August 1. He was a rickshaw-puller. His wife, Jyoti (32), too, died of shock the same day.
Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, too, had extended a helping hand in rearing the children, but the latter showed hesitation. The committee chairman, Dinesh Gupta, on Wednesday called up them and their family members, asking them to take a final call in the matter.
Following their response, the committee decided to let the children live with their family members at their native place Pandori Takhatmal in Tarn Taran only. The District Child Protection Officer has been asked to be in touch with them and submit reports from time to time. “The custody of Arshpreet and Sandeep was handed over to their father’s cousin Mewa Singh. Mewa’s brother Satnam Singh volunteered to take care of Gurpreet. Their financial position is bit better as compared with deceased’s brothers”, he said.
However, Karanbir, the eldest son, would be accommodated at a children’s home in Hoshiarpur. Gupta said: “We will also recommend the state government to extend a special children’s sponsorship scheme under which they would be entitled to a monetary assistance of around Rs 1,500 per month each. Our committee members, comprising two doctors and teachers, announced to help them in education and medical aid in their personal capacity,” he said. The ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh announced by the CM would be deposited in children’s bank account and could be withdrawn once they attain the age of 18 years. “Every penny would be used for them only, that is our promise,” said Gupta.
Gupta said Sonu Sood’s offer was also discussed at the meeting. “We had received an email on his behalf from Fazilka-based Matra Chhaya Anath Ashram, but we concluded that the upbringing of the children would be done better if they live with their family members at their native place. We told the ashram that if they wish to accommodate Karanbir, they should apply through the Fazilka district Child Welfare Committee,” he said.
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