Paralysed in school pool mishap, Class XII girl gets Rs 10L relief

Until five years ago, a 50x25m swimming pool used to be her playfield. Nineteen-year-old Riya Gupta now sits in a 6x6 room, her life confined to a 14-inch computer screen.

Riya suffered a spine injury that left her paralysed for life during a practice session. The family blamed her teachers for the accident.

After a protracted legal battle, school authorities and her family reached a compromise. The school agreed to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation.

"The parties arrived at a settlement in the presence of a mediator before the High Court and signed the agreement. Without admitting any alleged negligence, as a gesture of goodwill, the defendant agreed to pay Rs 8 lakh in addition to Rs 1,71,000 that was paid," the agreement states.

The teachers on duty on the day of the accident will pay Rs 25,000 each to the family.

Recalling the incident in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Rohini Sector-3, Riya said: "I was unwell that day and told my teachers that I couldn't swim. Since the championship was approaching, the teachers told me to dive into the pool. I refused as water level was too low for a dive. But they insisted."

"I closed my eyes and dived into the shallow pool. My head hit the concrete floor. I was soon rushed to a doctor," Riya said.

Doctors diagnosed that the girl had injured the C5 vertebra of the spine. "I asked them if I will be able to swim again. They said stem cell treatment could possibly help me. The treatment hopefully will be available in India in the future. I lost hope when the woman next to my bed said the doctors had told her the same thing 11 years ago," she said.

As days passed, the family started trying alternative medicines. "Ayurveda to naturopathy. But nothing worked. We were told that she should be taken for physiotherapy to a centre in Ghaziabad. We did not have the money for the treatment," her father Manoj Gupta said.

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