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Mrunal Manmay Dash

“Had there been a proper grievance redressal system at Koraput district administration and the contractor hadn’t neglected his duties, four precious lives would have been saved today,” said an aggrieved Sarpanch of Paika Phulabeda Panchayat under Koraput’s Sadar police limits.

The Sarpanch, Manohar Gadhua, who could not stop his tears from rolling down, said this after as many as four minors including three girls drowned to death after falling into a rainwater-filled pit dug up for road construction work at Majhiguda village under Sadar police station in Koraput district on Thursday.

A pal of gloom descended on the village in the heart-wrenching mishap which has been attributed to negligence in the construction work by the contractor.

As per reports, the road work between Odapur and Majhiguda village was undertaken under the Bharatmala Project when the contractor dug up a huge pit beside the road to extract soil to be used in the road construction.

Sources said, the monsoon rain filled up the pit with water that resembled like a pond in which four kids slipped and drowned to death.

On being informed about the incident, Sadar police and Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) reached the spot and recovered the body. While two kids died on the spot, other two succumbed while being taken to the hospital.

“The contractor never made any effort to drain out the accumulated water in the pit because of which our children drowned today,” said Gadhua.

“We had even informed the Collector about the same two weeks before, but he did not do anything. We demand immediate drainage of water from this pit and appropriate compensation for the families of the deceased.” he said.

Koraput SDPO, Manoj Pujari said, “I reached the spot along with the Sadar Police station officials after being informed about the mishap. We have launched a probe in this connection.”

Meanwhile, Koraput district Collector announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the families of each deceased minor, Rs 2000 and Rs 10,000 from Harischandra scheme and Red Cross fund respectively.  

The Collector also directed Dasamantapur Tehsildar to initiate action against erring contractor. 

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