NHRC asks govt to pay Rs 1 lakh to electrocution victim

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Bhubaneswar: Rejecting the plea of the Odisha government not to pay compensation to the next of the kin of a man who died of electrocution in Bhadrak district in October 2013, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the chief secretary to submit compliance of payment of compensation of Rs one lakh within six weeks.

Acting on a petition filed by rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra, the apex rights panel found the state guilty and rejected the state’s contention. “The reply furnished by the executive engineer, BSED, Bhadrak, is unacceptable,” the Commission observed.

Pursuant to the show cause notice from the rights body, BSED had argued that at no point of time, the officers of NESCO and their staffs have ever received any grievances/complaints from any quarter, including from any villager of the locality, regarding the snapping/falling of the live electric wire on the fateful day.

Therefore, no compensation should be recommended to be paid to the next of the kin of the deceased, it had said.

Relying on the inquiry report submitted by the additional secretary, the Commission has categorically held that there was negligence on the part of the concerned electrical section. It should have verified the snapped line and taken precautionary measures to prevent any untoward incident but they have failed to do the same, it said.

However, the Chief Engineer-cum-Chief Electrical Inspector reported that the victim is supposed to receive some financial compensation.

Notably, Jayanti Nath had died of electrocution after she came in contact with a low hanging live electric wire on October 22, 2013.

Citing this case, the petitioner lamented the state government had forgotten its accountability to the people and rule of law.

‘The rights panel found the electricity authorities guilty of negligence and a person has succumbed to their crimes. The state government is required to bring the culprits to a court of justice and should proceed with disciplinary proceedings. Unfortunately, the errant authorities enjoy impunity as they have unholy nexus with their higher ups and extraneous consideration matters to them,’ he alleged.

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