Govt gets CIC rap for 'callous' probe in deaths at NTPC plant



New Delhi: The CIC has pulled up the Union Labour Ministry for adapting "completely insensitive and callous attitude" while inquiring the death of workers in accidents at NTPC's Dadri plant.

These comments were made by Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi while hearing the plea of Ramesh Chandra Sharma of Uttar Pradesh who had sought from Labour Ministry the probe report of different fatal accidents at NTPC's Dadri Plant in 2007-08 which claimed lives of seven workers.

Sharma approached the Central Information Commission when the ministry did not provide him satisfactory information.

During the hearing, the Ministry officials provided four inquiry reports in the deaths of the workers at the plant during separate accidents which took place during 2007-08.

Those died included Bhajan Singh, Mohan Manjhi, Ramanand Verma, Rajiv Vishwakarma, Raju, Vijay Ram and Arjun Singh, according to documents produced by the department.

Gandhi said none of the reports produced by the department cover the inquiry into the death of Vijay Ram and it is not known whether any inquiry was held in this case.

"The respondent (Labour Ministry) is producing extremely cursory reports about the deaths of seven workers during 2007-2008 at the NTPC Dadri Unit," the Information Commissioner observed.

He noted that inquiry reports are extremely brief and acknowledge that safety precautions were not being followed.

"The reports do not mention any serious action against the employers. It is indeed a very distressing state of affairs that the Ministry of Labour treats the loss of life of workers so casually," he said.

"The reports do not appear to suggest any punitive measure against the employer. This is a sign of a completely insensitive and callous attitude of the Labour Department," Gandhi said while issuing show-cause notice to the then Regional Labour Commissioner, Dehradun, Ram Singh.

Gandhi directed Singh to explain why a penalty should not be imposed on him for not providing information within mandatory time limit of one month under the RTI Act.

PTI