Hirakud Dam tragedy; accused engineers yet to be served summon

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Sambalpur, Aug 5 (UNI) Even after ten years of tragic deaths of seven students of UCE Burla, the accused engineers are yet to be served court summonses.

On January 30, 1998, seven students of the University College of Engineering of Burla were washed away while taking bath owing to the untimely release of water from the Hirakud reservoir in the non-monsoon season.

Normally flood water is released from the reservoir in between June to October. But the water was released in January through sluice gates without taking any adequate measures and warning resulting in the untimely death of seven engineering students. Only one student Saubhagya Barik was lucky to have survived.

The then police officer of Burla police station B P Padhi (presently working as Additional S P of Puri) lodged an FIR against three engineers of Dam project-Superintendent Engineer, Jagannath Jena, Executive Engineer Dayanidhi Dehury and Sub-Divisional Officer Rabindra Kumar Mallick.

A case under section 304 and 336 of the IPC was also registered against them in the court of the SDJM Sambalpur. Since the incident, already ten years have passed but the three engineers are yet to be served summons from the court.

These engineers could not be traced on their known postal address available with the state government and also with the court, alleged Debraj Padhy, the father of a deceased student Binit Sankar Padhy.

He said it was surprising that these engineers were not available when they were drawing pensions and all other benefits from the government. He appealed before the appropriate authorities to trace them out and serve summons through newspapers.

The government, earlier, then also ordered a high level administrative inquiry into the incident by Sambalpur Revenue Divisional Commissioner Dr Hrushikesh Panda.

Mr Panda had submitted the report to the government which accepted it on May 19, 1998. But the report is yet to be placed on the floor of the Assembly.

The RDC in his report, while highlighting the irresponsibility of the engineers, stated that leave aside the general public, even the Sambalpur Collector and the Superintendent of Police were not intimated on the plea that they were not available over telephone.


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