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Bhubaneswar: Higher compensation for Odisha students who drowned

Bhubaneswar: A court here has directed Odisha to pay a compensation of Rs.25 lakh each to the kin of the seven students who drowned in a river 16 years ago, a lawyer said Thursday.

Civil Judge S.K. Pattnaik in Bhubaneswar Wednesday also directed the state authorities to pay an annual interest of six percent retrospectively from Sep 1, 2001, on the compensation amount, lawyer Madhu Madhab Jena told IANS.

Jena said eight students of an engineering college in Burla in Sambalpur district, about 340 km from here, had gone for a photography session to the Mahanadi river in January 1998 when Hirakud dam suddenly discharged huge quantity of stored water by opening nine sluice gates.

Only one student survived, while the remaining seven were swept away and were found dead a few days later.

The state government had provided a Rs.3 lakh compensation each to the kin of the students from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, said Jena, who has been fighting the case on behalf of the victims kin.

Describing the compensation amount as inadequate, the kin of some of the victims had moved the court in 2001.

The court directed the state government to pay an additional Rs.25 lakh each to the kin of the victims with an annual interest rate of six percent retrospectively from the date the petition was filed before it, he said.

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