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New Delhi:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday directed the Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation Limited (GCGSCL) to pay compensation of Rs 64 lakh to the father of a woman who died due to suffocation resulting from leakage of gas from the pipeline.

Sumantika Banerjee, a first-year postgraduate student at Kolkata’s Presidency College, died due to asphyxiation on January 4, 2015. Her roommate fell ill and was rushed to the hospital.

Experts from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) then found the presence of an unpleasant and abnormal noxious gas inside the room and traced it to a crack in the pipeline of GCGSCL laid underground just behind the window of the room.

After hearing the matter, a bench comprising Justice S.P. Wangdi and expert member Dr Satyawan Singh Garbyal directed GCGSCL to pay compensation of Rs 64 lakh for the death of Sumantika Banerjee within a period of one month.

“If the payment is not made within the period stipulated, simple interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum shall be computed after one month until the amount is fully liquidated in favour of the applicant,” the tribunal noted.

The bench assumed that the deceased would have bright career prospects had she been alive and assessed compensation by applying the multiplier of 16 prescribed under Motor Vehicles Act on the loss of earnings estimated at Rs 4,00,000 per annum with regard to present and future market index. “The amount of compensation thus works out to be Rs 4,00,000 x 16 that is Rs 64 lakh,” it stated.

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