‘The officers have failed to discharge their duty in the manner prescribed'

The Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) to asphalt a road and stop overflow from a drain, and remove silt from the storm-water drain at Jeppu Majila in Kankanady ward.

It has asked the corporation to pay a compensation of Rs. 25,000 to complainant Caron Jane S. recovering the amount from the erring Chief Executive Engineer. It also awarded a litigation cost of Rs. 1,000 to her.

Ms. Jane had alleged that the mud road in Jeppu Majila had not been asphalted and it became unmotorable in rainy season and autorickshaw and school van drivers refused to drive on it.

Besides overflowing sewage from underground drainage (UGD) line with unbearable stink was a health hazard, she complained.

Ms. Jane alleged that the UGD work was substandard.

Complaints to the engineer concerned and appeals to the commissioner had little impact.

MCC collected a fine of 24 per cent for late payment of taxes but these failures amounted to deficiency in service and sought a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh besides undertaking repairs.

When the counsel maintained that drainage was provided without compromising on quality to maintain the hygiene and sanitation and that problems during heavy rains alleged were being attended to and promised due action, the forum granted a month's time to report further development in June 2011.

Road very bad

When complaints continued, the Forum appointed Advocate Commissioner to inspect the area and report. Its report confirmed that the road was not asphalted and its condition was “very bad” and “full of sharp stones.

The road is not conducive for any type of vehicles and it is difficult to walk on it.” It confirmed presence of four UGD lines including one in front of Ms. Jane's house and the other adjacent to it and that both were leaking and there “is unbearable stink.”

It noted that the low-lying area was not suitable for the construction of UGD lines.

Wild plants and weeds have grown in storm-water drain were obstructing the smooth flow of the rainwater posing threat of flooding the area during heavy rain.

The report concluded no work had been taken to give relief to the complainant.

The forum said the report was “sufficient to hold that the Opposite Party is very negligent and not taken any steps”.

The action (failure) of officers was “mala fide as they have failed to discharge their duty and obligation in the manner prescribed by the rules.”

The forum's order said the corporation should rectify the problems such as asphalting of the road, removing silt, and removal of the mud by one feet in the storm-water drain and also repair of UGD line to stop overflowing of sewage water permanently.

Praised

The Forum appreciated that “against arbitrary action of the officers, … instead of feeling helplessness the complainant Caron Jane S. of Jeppu Majila rightly knocked the doors of the forum for the harassment and mental agony.”

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