The High Court on Thursday issued notices to the State government over two separate writ petitions filed by fathers of two minor girls who died in a project school at Angul in November last year due to construction activities in the school premises.

Monalisa Naik (4) and her friend Priyanka Das (4), both Anganwadi students had died falling into a water-filled pit dug for the construction of the school building. While the district administration had paid an ex gratia of Rs. 20,000 each to the bereaved families, the fathers of the girls have now approached the High Court seeking damage of Rs. 10 lakh each from the State government.

Taking cognizance of the writs, a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Pradeep K. Mohanty and Justice S.K. Mishra issued notices to the State government asking the respondents to file counters to the writ within three weeks, informed the counsel of the petitioners Prabir Kumar Das.

The State school and mass education secretary, Collector and SP of Angul, district inspectors of the schools and the local police inspector have been made opposite parties in both the cases.

While the prayers of the petitioners—Jambeswar Naik and Peetabas Das are almost similar, they have urged the High Court to direct for an impartial enquiry into the mishaps fixing responsibilities on the erring officials and initiate criminal proceedings against them.

The petitioners have also urged the High Court to direct the State government to come out with a set of guidelines to be followed during construction activities in school premises so that such mishaps do not occur in future, the counsel informed.