Udupi: About four years ago, Shrikanth, a daily wage worker had died in an accident at the construction site. The death had left his family in dire straits and even after four years, nothing much has changed for the bereaved family members, except for the fact that their pillar of support had gone.
Speaking about the tragic case of Shrikanth, Human Rights Protection Foundation President Ravindranath Shanbaug, on Tuesday said that the family has been struggling to make a living post Shrikanth's death. No relief, despite laws in place which entitles the kin to get Rs 2 lakh as relief has reached the poor family.
Shrikanth, 25 hailed from a village named Kanchinadka near Padubidri in Udupi district. Having lost his father at an early age, Shrikanth was compelled to discontinue his studies and toil to feed his family. He worked in hotels in Bengaluru to take care of his mother and two ailing sisters. After several years, Shrikanth returned home to Kanchinadka and decided to work as a daily wage workers in construction sector and he was soon absorbed by a contractor named Keshava Sapaliga. By this time, Shrikanth married a girl named Monica from a nearby village.
On March 10, 2013, Shrikanth had gone to work at Palimar and did not return. The family learnt that the roof at the under construction building had collapsed crushing Shrikanth to death. Though he was rushed to a nearby hospital, he was declared brought dead. The family of four was rendered on streets as the sole bread winner of the family was gone.
The family, after making several failed attempts to get compensation, finally approached a lawyer, who told them that they are entitled to get compensation from the contractor and may also get some relief from Karnataka Building and other Construction Workers' Welfare Board. He advised that an application for Ex Gratia Compensation may be made. Necessary applications were prepared and necessary signatures were appended on the same. The Lawyer also assured that he would assist the Public Prosecutor in a criminal case under Section 304 of IPC. However, years rolled and no compensation reached them.
When the family had lost all hopes, they finally came to Human Rights Protection Foundation and when inquiries were made at the labour office, it was shocking to know that there were no pending case against the Contractor and neither was there any case registered. Also the name of the contractor, Mr. Keshava Sapaliga was not there in the list of Registered Construction Contractors.
When the deceased Shrikant's family visited the office of the concerned lawyer, he washed off his hands by handing over the whole file and requesting them to engage some other lawyer for the purpose.
In case of any mishap in the construction stage of any building, there is a provision of compensation to the family of the deceased by the for payment of EX GRATIA of Rs. two lakhs. But for getting this compensation, the Contractor has to get himself registered and also register the names of the workers under him with the Karnataka Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board . If the names of the contractor and the workers are not registered, such ex gratia, cannot be paid. In the instant case, there was neither registration of the Contractor nor his labourers said Shanbaug who added that every possible effort shall be made by the foundation to get any and every possible assistance to the bereaved family and get justice to the maximum extent.
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