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Odisha contractor arrested for engaging school student in road construction


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, July 20:

The police today arrested the contractor who had engaged a 17-year old class IX student B Yakub in a PMGSY road construction project in Odisha’s Malkangiri district.

The boy had met with an accident while at work eight weeks ago, leading to the amputation of one of his hands.

B Yakub
B Yakub

There was public outrage over the matter after it came to light earlier this week.

The contractor, identified as Abhay Swain, was arrested from his Jeypore residence in Koraput district during a raid today, police said. IIC Malkangiri Raj Kishore Dash said Swain was arrested on the basis of preliminary investigations which prima facie found him guilty.

“On the basis of our preliminary investigations he was found to be guilty in the case wherein the boy B Yakub lost his hand and that is why we have arrested him”, IIC Dash said.

On the contrary, contractor Swain pleaded that he was not present at the site on the day the mishap occurred and was informed over phone about the incident following which he had hospitalised the child and was bearing all the expenses for his treatment. He said he was ignorant of how the student was engaged in the PMGSY project.

It may be recalled here that B Yakub, a poor 17-year old class IX student of IMST English Medium School in Malkangiri town, met with an accident when he came in contact with a 33 KV live electric wire while measuring a part of the road.

The impact of the electric shock was so high that a large part of Yakub’s body was burnt in the accident.

Yakub hails from Korukonda in Malkangiri district.

Yakub worked in a road construction project under PMGSY as he did not have enough money to buy a pair of school uniforms.

Doctors at the King George Government Hospital in Visakhapatnam, where he is presently undergoing treatment for his burns, had to amputate one of his hands to prevent the infection from spreading.

Doctors feel even his other hand and one of his legs may be required to be amputated as the infection was spreading rapidly, the sources said.

The concerned contractor and the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) had allegedly tried their best to hush up the incident, which took place 45 days back, sources revealed.

The district collector has ordered an administrative inquiry into the incident while some officials of the district have rushed to Visakhapatnam to oversee the treatment of Yakub.

The incident came to light only on July 17 after doctors amputated one of the hands of the child and the child’s father reported the matter to the district collector.

The contractor, who had engaged Yakub had allegedly tried to hush-up the incident by promising some money to the child’s family. Following the amputation of his boy’s hand, the father spilled the beans before the collector.