NHRC insists on relief to kin of mining accident victims

New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission has overruled the Rajasthan government and has asked it to pay an assistance of Rs.3 lakh each to the next of kin of five labourers who were buried alive in a mining accident two years back.

A NHRC release said that the commission did not agree with the Rajasthan government view that the five persons should not be paid ex-gratia or monetary assistance as they had died during illegal mining.

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The five were buried under the debris of an illegal mine in Alwar district’s Chooharpur village.

“The Commission has asked the state government, through its chief secretary, to submit the compliance report along with the proof of payment within eight weeks,” the release said.

The state government contended that the incident did not fall under the category of natural calamity. It also said that the matter was in court after investigation.

The commission observed that it was the duty of the state government to take steps to prevent illegal mining in the forest area.

It noted that if illegal mining was taking place on a large scale, it could not be without “connivance and negligence” of some state government officials.

The commission noted that illegal mining was taking place in the forest area of the state, the persons who died were the workers of the mine and it was the duty of the state to pay relief to the next of kin.

The commission took cognizance of the incident on the basis of a newspaper report of May 18, 2012, received along with a complaint from a human rights activist who alleged that 10 labourers were buried in the illegal mine.

The inquiry into the incident found that bodies of five labourers were recovered from the debris of the illegal mine.