Cases & Orders

Case Details

The Commission received a complaint dated 10.02.2014 from Smt. Sangita Swain, Secretary, Human Rights Watch in which she has stated that on 09.02.2014 about 70 members of Lions Club and 50 others were returning back to Sonutikra Ghat. About 30 motorcycles were also being transported in the boat. The picnickers boarded the boat around 4.15 and after 15 minutes later, water started to gush into the boat from its base. Because of some technical snag in its motor, the boat could not move and began to sway unsteadily in the middle of the Hirakud Dam Reservoir. The incident occurred due to negligence on the part of District Administration. The State Government has not taken any safety measures in the boats. The indigenous boats have no license, no insurance, no registration. No quality control mechanism or fitness certificate is issued to such boats by the Administration. No life jackets are provided to the passengers in the boats. So when incident happens, many lives are lost. Vide its proceedings dated 24.02.2014, the Commission called for a report from the concerned authorities. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, the Collector, Sambalpur, has submitted his report dated 03.06.2014, in which it is stated that as per the instructions of government Mechanical Engineers were appointed as Surveyor to take up special drive for survey, registration and licencing of boats and boatmen, safety requirements and other dos and don'ts involved in safe transport of passengers and materials by boat as per Odisha Boat Rule, 2004. Survey of boats was conducted from 13.03.2014 to 18.03.2014 in different Ghats of Sambalpur District. Accordingly, the Nodal Officer of the Survey team submitted the survey report. There were 24 boats inclusive of three boats of Forest Department, which were surveyed. 12 numbers of licences have already been issued. The task of issuing of licence to the rest of the boats and boatmen is under progress. The concerned Block Development Officers have been delegated as Enforcement Officers to check illegal plying of ferry boats. The District Administration is taking all necessary steps for registration, licencing of the boats and boatmen, enforce drive as per Odisha Boat Rules. Payment of ex-gratia Rs.46.50 lakhs @ Rs.1.50 lakh per deceased has been sanctioned by the Government and released to Tehsildar, Sambalpur, for disbursement to the next of kin of 31 deceased persons. Vide proceedings dated 08.08.2014 the copy of the above report was directed to be sent to the complainant for his comments. The complainant has submitted his comments dated 23.09.2014, in which he has stated that the matter is now sub-judice in the High Court of Odisha in the shape of a Suo-moto Writ Petition PIL No. 2833/14. The said Writ Petition / PIL has been filed seeking inter alia compensation to the NOK of the deceased persons. The Hon'ble High Court has issued notice to the State Government. The copy of the order is annexed with. The Commission has perused and considered the report as well as comments submitted by the complainant. Perusal of the comments shows that the matter is sub-judice before the Hon'ble High Court of Odisha. Hence, no further intervention of the Commission in the matter is required and the case is closed.