An unemployed linesman allegedly committed suicide at his residence in Kazi Kot village here. The deceased, Sarabjit Singh (30), was reportedly upset after the breakdown of talks between the protesting unemployed linesmen union and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. He is survived by his wife and a two-year-old son.
The suicide comes a few weeks after a rural pharmacist had taken a similar step in Talwandi Sabo. In his suicide note, he had accused the government of paying him too less (Rs 7,000 a month) to sustain his family.
But in Sarabjit’s case, no suicide note has been recovered yet. He hung himself with a ceiling fan. The incident came to light today morning when he did not respond to calls to open the door of the room he had “slept in”. “When he did not open the door, we broke the windowpanes, only to find him hanging,” she said.
Sarabjit and other members of his union have been protesting for the past two years, demanding issuance of appointment letters.
Sarabjit’s wife Sapna claimed her husband had told her that “he had pinned hopes on yesterday’s meeting (between the union members and the Deputy Chief Minister) and was distressed after its breakdown”.
After the death, the union members organised a protest with the body kept on the highway even as the local administration failed to meet their demand for announcing a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, besides a government job to his wife.
The protesters also demanded issuance of appointment letters to 4,000 candidates. Union state president Pirmal Singh said the state government had, on January 14, 2011, issued an advertisement for appointing 5,000 linesmen in the electricity department. The candidates were selected, but only 1,000 of them have been issued appointment letters so far.
The union members blocked the road for hours. They suspended their stir only after Deputy Commissioner Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal intervened and announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the deceased’s family. He has also arranged a meeting between the union members and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on July 24.