BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the State Government to compensate the SC/ST students for its lapses in ensuring a hygienic environment in mid-day meals.
Acting on a petition, the apex human rights panel directed that a notice under Section 18 of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 be issued to the Chief Secretary to show cause as to why the Commission should not recommend compensation of `1,000 each to be paid to the students of Gatangi Sevashram School, a State-run institution in Kandhamal district.
Earlier, Supreme Court Lawyer and Rights Activist Radhakanta Tripathy had alleged that 176 SC/ST students studying in Gatangi Sevashram were forced to have mid-day meals under open sky in a dilapidated accommodation surrounded by dogs and pigs in 2014.
Tripathy requested compensation for the students and sought healthy environment with all basic infrastructure of the school.
In a report submitted by Secretary of School and Mass Education Department, it was clearly mentioned that the assistant teacher, who was in-charge headmaster along with a staff of Gatangi Sewa Ashram, had failed to supervise the MDM programme.
“The SHG members, who were managing the MDM programme, had also neglected their duty of serving meals to the students in an hygienic and clean environment. Dogs and pigs entered the school premises due to broken boundary wall,” the report stated.
After considering the report and objection filed by Tripathy, the Commission observed that the school administration had failed to protect the basic human rights of children. It was not mentioned in the report as to what steps had been taken by the management for preventing the menace of dogs and pigs on the school premises, particularly when noon-meal is served.
The NHRC has further directed that the boundary wall of the school be raised to a level within three months to check entry of pigs and dogs on the premises and a report be submitted to the Commission within eight weeks.