Through a press release issued on Wednesday, July 12, by the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR), it has been notified that the Commission has taken suo-motu cognizance of the death of a student in an abandoned stone quarry in Cansaulim. And with this, the Commission, under Section 13, Sub Section 1(c), and Section 13, Sub Section 1(j) of the CPCR Act, 2005, empowers the NCPCR to inter-alia inquire 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, Mormugao, Police Inspector, Verna PS, and Secretary of Village Panchayat, Cansaulim-Arrossim-Cuelim, on Friday, July 14, 2023. In another letter, the Commission has directed both the District Magistrates to conduct a survey and initiate preventive measures for such incidents.
The letter by the Chairperson of the GSCPCR, Peter F Borges, states, ‘Such preventable deaths, especially of children, in abandoned or unfenced quarry pits and mines, especially during the monsoon is unacceptable. Past few years, the Commission has observed 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, makes swimming risky here.’
‘Most of such deaths can be prevented as they don’t happen by accident, instead the children go for a swim. Such casual swims have turned fatal for children, with no lifeguards, no rescue equipment, no fencing and no sign boards. With quarry businesses widely spread in the rural and interior areas, and many such quarries lying abandoned, it is crucial that the government surveys and verifies such quarries to curtail such issues.’, the letter reads.
Therefore, the Commission has recommended both the District Magistrates to conduct a survey and verify such quarries, whether it is legal or illegal, and restrain access through fencing of abandoned/illegal quarries with barbed wire so that there is no loss of human life.
The GSCPCR has sought a compliance report on or by August 12, 2023.