BENGALURU: The Express report exposing BBMP officials’ apathy in giving compensation to the family of Shanthakumar, an excavator operator, who was washed away while cleaning a stormwater drain in Bengaluru last month, rocked the assembly on Wednesday. The report dated June 10 (‘Bring husband’s body, then take money: Officials tell wife of worker who drowned’) highlighted the apathy of officials towards Shanthakumar’s grieving family.
As soon as the assembly session started, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar raised the issue during the debate on the state budget. Flashing a copy of Express, he blasted the BBMP officials for being insensitive to the plight of the family. Shettar also alleged officials were demanding bribe from Shanthakumar’s family in order to release the compensation amount. The family had been promised `10 lakh by Bengaluru development minister KJ George and Mayor Padmavathi while the search for Shanthakumar was still on.
The excavator operator was washed away on May 20 while removing silt from a stormwater drain at Kurubarahalli, during heavy rain. The search operation was called off after three days as his body could not be traced.
Later when Saraswathi, the wife of Shanthakumar, approached BBMP head office for compensation, the mother of two was asked to bring her husband’s body to claim compensation or wait for seven years to be eligible to claim it.
Terming the attitude of the officials and the state government as inhuman, Shettar said, “Instead of helping the family the officials are citing rules and had even asked money from the family.” He urged the government to immediately provide compensation to the family.