BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has awarded Rs 2 lakh compensation to the parents of visually impaired student Bhagirathi Das who had drowned in a pond on the campus of Utkal Balashram, Cuttack in July last year.
The Commission bench comprising acting Chairman Justice BK Mishra and member BK Patnaik has directed the Women and Child Welfare Department to pay the compensation amount within three months. Earlier, the kin of Das had received a compensation of Rs 1 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and Rs 10,000 from district Red Cross Fund.
The Commission has held the State responsible for the death of the Class IX student. “A helpless blind student died because of drowning in an unguarded and unprotected pond of the school meant for visually impaired. The death occurred because of the negligence of school authorities and also due to the State’s failure to discharge its duty in ensuring safety of students,” the Commission observed.
The boy, an inmate of the residential blind school run by Women and Child Development Department at Nuapada in Cuttack, had drowned in the unprotected pond located on the campus on July 31, 2014. His body was found floating in the water body next day.
The matter was taken up with the Commission by rights activist Prabir Das. Das alleged that the tragic death had occurred as the Government and authorities had been lax towards safety of visually challenged inmates who require special protective measures. The pond without any protective fencing or guard was always a serious risk for the students. He had prayed for Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of the victim.