Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Bhubaneswar, Dec 31:
The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed School and Mass Education department to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the parents of Ritika Biswal, a class-II student of Patimunda Primary School under Bahanaga block in Odisha’s Baleswar district, who died due to electrocution in the school premises on September 17 this year.
Acting on a petition by Advocate Prabir Kumar Das, a division bench comprising acting chairperson B K Mishra and member Bijay Kumar Patnaik directed the School and Mass Education secretary to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the bereaved parents of Ritika Biswal (7).
Local villagers had alleged a Sikhya Sahayak of the school –Mamata Biswal– who was staying in a room in the school had taken illegal power connection for a cooking heater where Ritika came in contact with the electric wire on her way to urinate behind the school building as the wire was hanging low. She was rushed to Soro community health centre (CHC) where the doctors declared her dead on arrival.
Following the incident, the irate villagers resorted to agitation demanding stringent action against the guilty and compensation to the parents of the deceased girl.
The state government had announced Rs 1 lakh (ex-gratia) from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to Nirmal Kumar Biswal, father of the deceased girl. Terming the compensation amount “grossly inadequate” the Odisha Human Rights Commission directed the School and Mass Education Department to pay compensation of Rs 3 lakh over and above the ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh already paid to the bereaved parents.
OHRC further directed the School and Mass Education Department to initiate departmental action against the erring headmistress– Draupadi Lenka– within thirty days. Besides, complying to its earlier order regarding the payment of compensation within 60 days.