Updated: February 9, 2021 7:22:10 am
IT WAS only last month that Haridas Mahto and four of his friends from Jharkhand resumed duty at NTPC’s hydro power project site in Tapovan. Since then, they had not taken a day off. Until Sunday.
“After working for several days, we took an off on Sunday with a plan to relax at our quarters at the project site and watch movies on our mobile phones after lunch. We were seated around a bonfire outside our quarters at around 10.30 am when I saw a flood of water in the Dhauliganga river. I shouted out, asking everyone to run. We ran to a location about 100 metres high. We were so rattled that we did not come back down to our room for nearly two hours,” says Mahto who hails from Ramgarh.
Those who escaped with him were Roshan from Ramgarh, Kuldeep and Shailesh from Bokaro, and Sunil Kumar from Ranchi.
The five of them were engaged in drilling work inside the tunnel about 2 km downstream from where 12 labourers were rescued Sunday.
“The first thing I did after returning to our room was to thank God for saving my life,” says Kuldeep. “If we had been working yesterday, we would not be alive today,” says Sunil.
Among the other survivors at the site are Sher Ram, Bharat Ram, Ganga Ram, Ummed Ram and Dilip Kumar from Hokaar village in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh.
“For the past few days we were working at a site near the river embankment close to this tunnel. Luckily, we had taken off this Sunday,” says Bharat Ram. “The site where we had been working was completely buried under mud and debris,” says Unmed Ram.
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