The Telegraph
Saturday , February 1 , 2014
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Rights panel orders probe into kid deaths

Bihar Human Rights Commission, taking suo motu cognisance, on Friday ordered a joint inquiry by the district magistrate and the superintendent of police into the electrocution of six children in the district village on Thursday.

The commission has directed the managing directors of the South Bihar Power Distribution Company and the Bihar Power Transmission Company to depute some senior officers to assist the probe team.

The inquiry would, among other things, cover the extent of administrative and criminal negligence that led to the electrocution. The commission also sought to know about the administrative and legal action initiated in the case.

Acting BHRC chairman Neel Mani said the district magistrate and the superintendent of police have been asked to submit their report before March 3.

For daily wager Mohammad Ishar, the father of nine-year-old Mohammad Ishlam Aslam, one of those killed, no compensation was good enough.

The Jamui district administration announced a payment of Rs 20,000 under social security and another Rs 1,500 from Kabir Antosthy Yojana, while the state electricity department would pay Rs 2 lakh.

“When Aslam was six months old, my wife died. I brought him up somehow along with my two other children in the hope that he would look after me when I grow old,” a weeping Ishar said.

Most of the families, which lost their children in the incident, were not ready to accept the compensation for the cost of their children’s lives.

“It was the result of the negligence of the electricity department. Would they able to return the life of my daughter, Sanjana?” said Jubeda Khatun, mother of a victim.

District magistrate Shashi Kant Tiwary formed a probe team under the leadership of additional district magistrate R.N. Choudhary. “After the team submits its report, we would decide the course of action,” Tiwary told The Telegraph. He urged South Bihar Power Distribution Company managing director Santosh Kumar Mall to provide Rs 2 lakh compensation to the families of each victim.

Sources said electricity reached Chandra under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Mission in 2012. “Since then, snapping of overhead wires of the Chandra-Butbatiya-Thakurkura supply line has been a problem,” said Mohammad Jumman, a villager.

“The electricity poles are not concretised at the base, which often cause them to bend and force the overhead wires to snap. The electricity department has no monitoring system,” said Mohammad Aslam Ansari, a local leader.