Aizawl: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has registered a suo-moto case over the stone quarry collapse in south Mizoram’s Hnahthial district as the death toll in the gory incident increased to 11.
The NGT on Wednesday directed seven authorities concerned in Mizoram, including ABCI Infrastructures Pvt Ltd, which currently owns the stone quarry on a lease, to appear before the tribunal on November 28, officials said.
The death toll in the stone quarry collapse has risen to 11 as one more body was recovered from the site, an official said on Thursday.
R Lalremsanga, Hnahthial district deputy commissioner, said that the body of a 25-year-old man from south Mizoram’s Lunglei district had been recovered from the debris around 8:30 pm on Wednesday.
Of the 12 missing persons in the stone quarry collapse, 11 bodies have been recovered from the site so far, he said. The victims were aged between 18 and 49 years.
A search and rescue operation is being carried out to find the last missing person, who hailed from Assam, the official said.
Altogether, 12 workers of ABCI Infrastructures Pvt Ltd and other contractors were confirmed to have been trapped after the stone quarry caved in at Maudarh village, about 23 kilometre from Hnahthial town, on Monday.
The incident occurred around 2.40 pm on November 14 when the workers were working at the site, according to the district administration.
Hnahthial Superintendent of Police (SP) Vineet Kumar had said that thirteen people were working when a massive landslide occurred at the stone quarry and only one labourer managed to escape unhurt.
Of the deceased, five are from West Bengal, two each from Jharkhand and neighbouring Assam, and one each from Tripura and Mizoram, according to a report issued by Hnahthial district administration.
Lalramdintluanga, Hnahthial district sub-deputy commissioner, said a 49-year-old man, who was earlier reported as a resident of Mizoram’s Lunglei district based on his Aadhar card, lived in a Bru relief camp in Tripura. His body was sent to the neighbouring state on Wednesday, Lalramdintluanga said.
The Bru people, who are currently camping at Tripura relief camps, have been allowed to permanently settle in the neighbouring state as per the quadripartite agreement in 2020. Their settlement in Tripura is in progress.
The bodies of other victims have also been sent to their respective states on Wednesday, the official added.
Eyewitnesses claimed that the workers had dug too deep and upset the stability of the stone quarry, resulting in the collapse. Lalremsanga had said that five earth excavators, a stone crusher, and a drilling machine were also completely buried under the debris.
He said the area impacted by the landslide is approximately 5,000 square metres.
The state police have also filed a suo-moto case at Hnahthial police station to probe the incident, a police officer said.
Officials from mine safety under the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment and Mizoram geology and mining department visited the site on Wednesday to take stock of the situation, official sources said.
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