Sewerage Deaths In Odisha’s Twin Cities: HC Orders Rs 10 Lakh Compensation To Families Of Dead Labourers
Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Monday directed the state government to pay compensation to each family of the four labourers who died of asphyxiation while cleaning sewerage lines in Bhubaneswar in March and in Cuttack in April.
Taking suo motu cognizance of the case, the court issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Secretary, Housing & Urban Development, Secretary, Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribe Welfare, Public Health Engineering Organization (PHEO), collectors of Cuttack and Khurda and Municipal Commissioners of the twin cities to ensure immediate compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the bereaved families, ensure the criminal law process under Section 10 of the PEMSR (Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation) Act and examine whether any of the victims belonged to the SC or ST, where the relevant provisions of the SC & ST Prevention Of Atrocities (POA) Act and the rules require to be activated.
The court also directed the aforesaid parties to inform about the status of the enquiry on the incident in Cuttack, and submit a copy of the enquiry report and the corrective steps taken in this regard.
The Court appointed lawyers Bibhu Prasad Tripathy and Pami Rath as the amicus curiae (AC) to assist in the matter and requested the secretary, Odisha State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) to immediately contact the family of the victims and inform the AC if they need legal assistance. The OSLSA secretary will also remain present in virtual mode at the next hearing on May 10.
It may be mentioned that the two sanitation workers Bishnu Naik of Badamba and T.Prabhakar of Pattapol area of Cuttack died of asphyxiation while engaged in manually cleaning a sewer line at Sector-10, Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) on April 15.
Prior to the incident, two sanitation workers, Sunaram Sardar (55) of Jharkhand and Silup Birua (25) of Mayurbhanj district had died of asphyxiation while engaged in the maintenance of a sewage tank at Brahmeswar Bagh area under Badagada police limits in Bhubaneswar on March 19.