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COVID free of charge: special camps in Kerala to speed up compensation process

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala is working overtime to clear the backlog of ex gratia compensation claims for relatives of COVID-19 victims, and also to ensure that all beneficiaries receive compensation.

The Land Revenue Commissioner ordered district tax collectors to operate affected wings in tax collectors and village offices on Sunday to review and make a final decision on claims received so far in the evening.

The order was issued after the Supreme Court on Friday criticized Kerala and a few other states for the delay in ruling on the ex gratia payment, and set a one week deadline for making a final ruling on the ex gratia payments. requests received.

Although Kerala has reported over 40,000 COVID-related deaths, only 10,777 compensation claims have been received. Special camps will be held on Monday and Tuesday at all taluk offices to speed up the process of receiving applications.

Additional officials will be assigned, as in electoral service, to run the camps. Representatives of local organizations were tasked with bringing all beneficiaries to the camp and registering their names on the relevant portal.

Village officers, on the other hand, are reluctant to expedite the review of claims, fearing litigation in the future, especially in cases where the legal heir could not be easily identified. It has been found that in some cases applications have been filed without the knowledge of all the legal heirs.

Software has been developed to transfer the applications scanned by the village agents directly to the district collector concerned. There are complaints that this led to files stuck in the collector.

The revenue department has so far forwarded requests to collectors after review at the taluk level. It has been argued that the delay in ex gratia finalization could have been avoided if the Ministry of Health had handed over details of deaths from COVID-19 to the Ministry of Finance. The latter’s decision to develop separate software also contributed to the delay.

Of the 10,777 claimants, only 548 beneficiaries obtained compensation.

How to make a gratis request
The Supreme Court has set immediate relief of Rs 50,000 for the next of kin of COVID-19 victims. The state government announced 5,000 rupees each for 36 months for people living below the poverty line.

Applications should be submitted on the website, relief.kerala.gov.in, directly or via Akshaya Kendras. It could also be given to the agents of the village.

Copies of the COVID death certificate, applicant’s ration card, Aadhaar card, and bank passbook must be submitted with the application.