HC orders govt to pay damages to cataract operation victims

Cuttack: The Odisha High Court has ordered the state government to pay damages to all the persons who developed vision problems after cataract operations in a free eye camp of Kalahandi district in September 2010.

Pronouncing its judgement that was kept reserved since September last year, the Division Bench of Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra on Tuesday ordered that the state government shall pay damages of Rs 2.5 lakhs each to all those who lost their vision completely after the operation.

Similarly, those who lost partial vision shall be compensated after reviewing the extent of damage by the state health secretary, the HC said. Altogether 1210 persons had been operated in the eye camp organized at Dharmagarh by an NGO in collaboration with local district authorities.

At least 25 persons developed vision problems after the cataract operation and of them 16 have lost complete vision. The victims were taken to MKCG Medical College and hospital in Berhampur where a group of ophthalmology experts confirmed that the victims had lost vision.

After a PIL was filed in the HC by civil rights activist Prabeer Das, the HC had ordered an enquiry into the incident which was monitored by the district legal services authority.