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Friday, January 21, 2022

Bhiwani mining site landslide: Another worker’s body recovered, toll rises to 5

Officials said the rescue operations will continue for the time being to clear the debris and to rule out the possibility of any other person being trapped there.

By: Express News Service | Bhiwani |
Updated: January 3, 2022 6:02:43 am
Rescue operations in progress on Sunday. (Express Photo by Manoj Dhaka)

One more body was pulled out from under the debris at a mining site in Dadam here, taking the death toll to five in an accident triggered by a landslide. Four bodies were recovered on Saturday after the incident. Two people were injured.

Meanwhile, officials said the rescue operations will continue for the time being to clear the debris and to rule out the possibility of any other person being trapped there.

“The body of a worker was pulled out from under the debris late Sunday evening,” SHO of Tosham police station Sukhbir said over the phone. The victim was about 50 years of age and belonged to a village near Rohtak.

According to the district administration, they have recovered records of seven workers who were trapped under the debris. “All seven, whose record was made available by the contractor have been accounted for. While five have lost their lives, two are in hospital and being treated for their injuries”, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Manish Phogat said.

“The rescue operation shall continue till tomorrow afternoon, as there could be a possibility of some helper or any other person also being trapped inside, whose record was not available in the register of workers maintained at such mining sites,” Phogat said, adding “The rescue operation is likely to continue until Monday afternoon”.

Shifting big boulders was time consuming, he said, adding there was fog in the morning, but it cleared during the day.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Bhiwani after visiting the accident site, BJP MP from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh, Dharambir Singh alleged violation of several laid down norms for mining at at least four sites in the Dadam zone. He said he would urge Chief Minister M L Khattar to order a thorough probe into the landslide and its reasons so that such incidents are not repeated.

Speaking to reporters in Panchkula on the sidelines of an event, Chief Minister M L Khattar, however, said he has already directed the mining department to find out whether there was any violation of laid down parameters for mining at the site. “If any violation is found, action will be taken,” he said.

Bhiwani Deputy Commissioner Rippudaman Singh, meanwhile, said the rescue operation at the site was still going on and it was being led by the NDRF.

After the incident at around 9 am on Saturday, police had said around half-a-dozen dumper trucks and some machines were buried under the debris.

About the rescue operations, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij had earlier said several rescue teams, including those from the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and the Army, were pressed into service.

State Congress president Kumari Selja, meanwhile, demanded a judicial probe, monitored by a sitting Supreme Court judge, it is needed “to expose the mining scandal which was going on”.

In a statement, Selja, a former Union minister, alleged that illegal mining was going on in Dadam and deep digging was going on at the site without permission. She said the Congress party demands a financial assistance of Rs 25 lakh for the next of kin of each of those killed in the incident and Rs 10 lakh to those injured.

Holding the BJP-JJP government responsible for the whole accident, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda had on Saturday alleged that there had been a “scam of thousands of crores” in the Dadam mining zone. “Even the Supreme Court has made a serious remark on this matter and illegal mining is being done in this area by flouting all the rules but the government is not conducting a fair investigation. The opposition demands that there should be a judicial inquiry into the entire scam,” Hooda had said in a statement.

Senior Congress leader and MLA from Tosham, Kiran Choudhary, has demanded an independent probe, alleging that the mining in the area has been going on in an illegal manner. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala too had alleged that the illegal mining was going on under the Khattar regime and asked the BJP government who was responsible for these deaths.

(With PTI inputs)

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