Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has taken suo motu cognisance of the death of a student in an abandoned stone quarry in Cansaulim
Peter F Borges, Chairperson Goa SCPCR
The Commission under Section 13, Sub Section 1 (c) and Section 13, Sub Section 1 (j) of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 empowers the NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) to, among other things, enquire into complaints and violation of child rights and take suo motu notice of such matters.
The Commission has scheduled a joint site inspection and has summoned the deputy collector of Mormugao, the police inspector of Verna PS and the secretary of the village panchayat of Cansaulim-Arrossim-Cuelim on July 14, 2023.
In another letter, the Commission directed both the district magistrates to conduct a survey and initiate preventive measures for such incidents.
The letter by the chairperson of Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Peter F Borges, states, “Such preventable deaths, especially of children, in abandoned or unfenced quarry pits and mines, especially during the monsoon is unacceptable. For the past few years, the Commission has observed a few deaths of children by drowning in such quarries.”
Many young adolescents find quarries to be safe places to swim due to the presence of still water. However, the steep drop-offs, deep water, sharp rocks, submerged wires and industrial waste dumped in the quarries, make swimming risky here.
“Most of these deaths can be prevented as they don’t happen by accident,” says Peter F Borges.
Such casual swims have been fatal for children with no lifeguards, no rescue equipment, no fencing and no sign boards present.
The quarry business is quite widespread in rural and interior areas, and many quarries lie abandoned. It is crucial that the government surveys and verifies these quarries to curtail such issues.
Therefore, the Commission recommends to both the district magistrates the conduction of a survey to verify whether these quarries are legal or illegal and restrict access to them by fencing off abandoned or illegal quarries with barbed wire so that there is no loss of human life.
The Commission seeks a compliance report on or by August 12, 2023.