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Odisha rights panel orders compensation to family of child killed in wall collapse

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 15:

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has recommended a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the bereaved parents of a child who died due to the collapse of the boundary wall in a government-run primary school in Khordha district.

The Commission has directed the state government to pay the compensation amount within three months.

An eight-year-old boy Rakesh Sethy, son of Chhabi Sethy (father) and Minati Sethy (mother), a student of class IV at Siko Primary School under Begunia block of Khordha district was killed on June 18, 2011 when the wall of the school collapsed on him. The incident occurred when the hapless child was walking past to fetch water from a tap lying near the wall of the school.

Human rights activist and High Court lawyer Prabir Kumar Das had moved the OHRC in the matter on June 6, 2012 seeking proper inquiry, appropriate action and adequate compensation to the bereaved parents of the deceased child.

Acting on the petition filed by advocate Das, the Commission called for a report from the collector, Khordha on the incident. The then collector, Khordha through a letter dated May 30, 2014 had informed the OHRC that the incident took place because of continuous rain for three days which might have soaked and weakened the wall.

A division bench of the OHRC acting chairperson Justice Bira Kishore Mishra and member Bijay Kumar Patnaik after considering the report, passed an order directing the commissioner -cum-secretary, School and Mass Education department to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the parents of the deceased child.

In its order the Commission held:

“It is beyond dispute that the poor student sustained fatal injuries due to the collapse of the boundary wall of the school…We feel that the Government should not shirk its responsibility to provide safety to children in the school. Since it failed to do so, the commission feels that it would be just and proper for the Government to pay a compensation of Rs. three lakh to the parents of the deceased child.”