Compensation awarded for workers suffering burns at Kudankulam N-plant

Chennai: Finding safety measures lacking in the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday ordered compensation of Rs.50,000 each as a relief to six workers who suffered burn injuries.

In a statement, the NHRC said its persistence ensured that Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) that owns KNPP paid Rs 50,000 each as a relief to six workers who suffered burn injuries due to lack of safety measures on May 14, 2014. "The Commission observed that the nature of the work carried out in nuclear power projects does not allow any laxity on the part of the authorities in the maintenance of safety standards," it said. According to NHRC, owing to such negligence on the part of KNPP and NPCIL, the six workers of the project have suffered burn injuries ranging from 60 to 70 per cent resulting in physical pain, mental agony and trauma to them and their families. "This cannot be adequately compensated through bearing the cost of treatment or paying wages for the period of absence from duty. There was a clear violation of the human rights of the injured employees and they should be adequately compensated for it," it said. In response to NHRC's notices, the NPCIL Chairman and Managing Director and the District Collector, Tirunelveli confirmed the incident and informed that all the sick persons, including a supervisor, two technicians, and three contract workers suffered 60-70 percent burn injury. All of them were provided free of cost treatment and their and they were back to work. The contract employees had been paid the wages for the period of their absence due to the incident. The period of the absence from duty in the case of NPCIL employees was also regularised. However, an enquiry report by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board pointed deficiencies in the safety standards at the unit of KNPP where the accident had happened. "Among the other things, it said that the persons working were not wearing personal protective equipment as required except safety helmet and shoes," NHRC said. The AERB report pointed fingers towards negligence on the part of KNPP and NPCIL and suggested that the incident could have been avoided had the guidelines under maintenance manual were followed