Two days after the death of a middle-aged woman due to the negligence of the authorities to cover a drain, paucity of disaster funds with the district administration has deprived her family of full immediate ex-gratia compensation of Rs. 1.5 lakh.
On Monday, the administration could spare only Rs. 10,000 for the family as an “immediate relief.”
The rest of the compensation amount is expected to be handed over whenever the local authorities receive the district’s portion of disaster funds, probably before the monsoon.
Ayesha Bi’s death proves that little has been done in the district to prevent such accidents or to help the families of victims like her.
On Saturday night, amid a heavy downpour, the homemaker fell into hole caused by a missing slab over a drain on the waterlogged PVS Road in the heart of the city. She was on her way home from a wedding. She was washed away in rainwater, sludge and plastic waste inside the drain for almost 300 metres. The body was recovered after a search, which extended to three hours in pitch dark and heavy downpour.
“She deserves an ex-gratia compensation from the State Disaster Response Fund of the Home Department. There is a provision to give Rs. 1.5 lakh. But there is a paucity of funds,” District Collector C.A. Latha told The Hindu.
Ms. Latha, who took charge today, visited the victim’s family at its residence at Kinassery here and handed over the Rs. 10,000.
“The rest of the compensation will be paid once the disaster funds are received,” she said.
“In fact, we (district administration) had sought the release of the disaster fund very early, as back as on May 4. This would have helped us prepare the district for the oncoming monsoon. Once we get this disaster fund, we will pay the family the balance compensation amount from it,” the Collector said.
A government order (2454/2013/DMD) passed by the Disaster Management (Revenue – K) Department on April 30 had sanctioned the release of Rs. 29.25 lakh to make the district safer for the public during this year’s monsoon.
The Collector agreed that both the Kozhikode Corporation and the Public Works Department are engaged in a blame-game over Ayesha’s death.
The explanation, she said, that both authorities gave were “not satisfactory.”
The Collector said that a proposal has been mooted to engage Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society to replace missing slabs on roadsides. She said a preparatory meeting would be held on May 30 to discuss the contingency plans for monsoon safety.