OHRC Asks Govt to Pay Aid to Student's Kin
By Express News Service | Published: 11th March 2015 06:03 AM |
BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed the State Government to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation to parents of a 12-year-old girl who had died after a wall of an under-construction school toilet collapsed on her in Ganjam district in October last year.
The bench comprising acting Chairperson Justice BK Mishra and member BK Patnaik instructed Secretary, School and Mass Education Department to comply with the order within six weeks.
Rights activist Prabir Kumar Das had filed a petition drawing attention of the Commission to the negligence of authorities which cost the life of Tilottama Patra, a Class VI student of Nimakhandipetha Upper Primary School under Digapanhandi block of Ganjam.
The girl had gone to the toilet, which was under construction but not closed for use, during the recess on October 16. The wall came crashing on her causing serious injuries. She was rushed to MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur but succumbed next day.
The Commission had earlier sought reports from Secretary, School and Mass Education Department and Collector, Ganjam on the incident. The reports stated that the toilet project worth around Rs 70,000 had been sanctioned since December 26, 2012 but had remained incomplete. A wall of 5.4 ft high had been raised but left incomplete and supported by wooden members. The girl was caught in the crash as the wooden support caved in.
“Construction of a toilet costing Rs 70,00 is not a complicated feat of engineering. That it remained incomplete for years together shows deplorable callousness on part of successive headmasters. If for some unavoidable reasons work was held up, the least the authorities could have done was to bar entry of children,” the Commission noted.
The bench has also taken strong exception to lack of supervision by Education Department officials right from the block onwards.
“If the authorities concerned had discharged their duties with due diligence, the incident could have been avoided. This is a fit case for award of compensation. We recommend Rs 2 lakh to the father over and above the Rs 1.10 lakh already paid out of CM Relief Fund and District Red Cross Fund,” the bench ruled.