NHRC Showcause To Odisha CM On Compensation In Child Worker’s Electrocution Death

Bhawanipatna: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, seeking an explanation on why Rs 3 lakh compensation was not paid in connection with the electrocution death of a minor girl at a construction site.

The minor girl, Prabha Kosalia of Balijodi village in Kalahandi district, was engaged in the construction of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) houses at Kuturupali when she came in contact with an 11-KV live wire and died subsequently.

The NHRC issued the notice while hearing a petition (1969/18/62020) filed by human rights activist Dillip Kumar Das on October 22.

Since the Kalahandi administration did not report the incident as the electrocution death had occurred in Kuturupalli village in the neighbouring Rayagada district, the NHRC had sought reports from the Rayagada District Collector and Superintendent of Police on December 15, 2020.

Earlier, the WESCO authorities had declined to pay compensation to the victim’s relatives on the pretext that construction of houses under 11 KV transmission lines was illegal. The petitioner, however, argued that neither the Energy Department nor the WESCO authorities had supervised the construction site or stopped it altogether if it was illegal. While it is illegal to engage child labourers in government work, the Energy department officials should have stopped such constructions if they found it illegal, Das argued quoting similar court rulings in Haryana.

“It is the moral responsibility of the state government to pay compensation in such cases,” Das said in support of his stand before the NHRC.

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