BHUBANESWAR: Taking strong exception to inordinate delay in payment of compensation awarded to the family of an eight-year-old boy, who died in a school boundary wall collapse at Begunia in June 2011, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed personal appearance of Secretary, School and Mass Education Department.
Acting Chairperson of the Commission Justice BK Mishra has asked the Secretary to explain in person the reasons for non-compliance of its orders during its next hearing on August 27.
The OHRC had directed the SME Department to pay a compensation of `three lakh to next of the kin of the deceased Rakesh Sethi in its order on July 28 last year. The Department was directed to pay the compensation within three months.
Sethi, a student of Class IV, had died when the boundary wall of the Government-run Siko primary school under Begunia block of Khurda district collapsed and crushed him. The child was reportedly going to the school tap to fetch water when the mishap occurred.
A petition had been filed by rights activist and advocate Prabir Das appealing for adequate compensation and action against the persons responsible for the faulty construction of the wall. Khurda district Collector in his report had attributed the mishap to continuous rains which had weakened the wall causing its collapse.
While a year has passed since the order was issued, the family is yet to receive the compensation. Taking cognisance of the delay, the Commission sought records and found that the Khurda Collector had moved the Secretary, SME Department to sanction the amount. But it had not been forthcoming.
“This shows lackadaisical attitude of the Secretary. Before taking coercive action, the Commission calls upon her to appear in person on August 28, 11 pm and explain the reasons for non-compliance,” Chairperson Mishra has ordered.