Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Chhattisgarh: four workers killed in rock collapse at NMDC site 

In another incident showing the lax attitude towards safety in the construction sector, four workers have died in an accident at a construction site of mining major NMDC in Kirandul, Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, on February 27.

The mishap, which took four lives and caused severe injuries to two, occurred due to the collapse of a 70 meter high wall they were constructing in an iron ore mine of the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).

“An unpredictable collapse of strata from a 70 meter high rock formation landed on the workers on the construction site at Screening Plant III,” NMDC said in a statement on February 28.

“On Tuesday afternoon, a tragic incident was reported at a construction site in the Kirandul Complex of NMDC in which four lives were lost due to the collapse of rock formations on the hillside. Though rescue operations were immediately initiated, the four men could not be rescued alive. Two other men who sustained injuries during this incident are being treated at the NMDC Hospital and now out of harm’s way,” it added.

Superintendent of Police, Dantewada, Gaurav Rai said that the incident took place at around 2.30 pm when around 14 workers were engaged in the construction of a retaining wall as a part of the Screening Plant-3 extension project of NMDC.

Four workers were trapped under the debris after a portion caved in. A police team rushed to the site and started the rescue operation.

Sources told The Hindu that the four dead and two injured were contractual workers.

Three among the deceased were from West Bengal (Nirmal Bala, Bittu Bala and Santosh Das), while one was from Bihar (Tushar), Hindustan Times reported.

While expressing condolences to the bereaved families, NMDC promised that a thorough investigation will be carried out to find the reason behind the tragedy.

However, it’s worth mentioning here that the death of labourers at construction sites has risen nearly three-fold annually since 2021.

The best estimate as per the available data is that there are at least 38 accidents every day across construction sites in India.

A recent ILO (International Labour Organisation) study has shown that India has the highest number of fatal accidents on construction sites in the world.

A vast range of factors including poor maintenance of makeshift lifts, failure of equipment like cranes and scaffolding, malfunctioning of safety belts etc… lead to these tragedies.

But the government appears to act only in the aftermath of a tragedy, promising compensation to the families of the dead workers.

Notably, the construction industry contributes nine per cent of India’s GDP and employs 51 million workers, making it the second largest employment sector after agriculture


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