Missing JCB driver's wife left in lurch

Missing JCB driver's wife left in lurch

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is in a fix over giving compensation to the family of Shanthakumar, who was swept away in a stormwater drain on May 20 at Kurubarahalli.

Equally perplexed is Shanthakumar’s wife Saraswathi, who is awaiting compensation of Rs 10 lakh as announced by Bengaluru Mayor G Padmavathi. Shanthakumar, an excavator operator was engaged in BBMP's job of cleaning the stormwater drain, though he was an employee of a BBMP contractor.

Government rules say that the compensation can be given only if the death certificate is issued.

Shanthakumar’s body remains untraceable yet despite an extensive search operation for four days after he was swept away in strong currents on the rainy night.

Palike officers reportedly told Saraswathi that unless the body is found, compensation cannot be given. A Palike officer said, “We are in a dilemma. What if it emerges that the man is alive? We will be held accountable for not verifying the case properly and carelessly paying money to the family.”

An officer, who was part of the search operation, said, “We learnt from his family and friends that Shanthakumar was a good swimmer. There could be a possibility of his coming out alive. It is a tricky situation for us.”

BBMP commissioner
N Manjunatha Prasad said, “We are aware of the challenges his family is facing and we will do whatever best we can on humanitarian grounds. However, officers are obviously scared of releasing the compensation amount without fulfilling the due process. Rules say the person should be missing for at least seven years to be declared dead.”

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