Case registered against construction agency
Anantnag: The death toll in the Ramban tunnel collapse has reached ten, with the recovery of as many bodies, which brought an end to the more than 40 hour long rescue operation amid strong winds, shooting stones and a massive landslide.
An FIR has been registered against the construction firm entrusted with constructing the tunnel.
The cave-in took place some 30 t0 40 meters inside an under-construction tunnel (T3) near Khooni Nallah of Makerkote in Ramsu area in Ramban district along the national highway.
The tunnel is being constructed to bypass the landslide and shooting stones-prone Panthal area.
The mishap took place at about 10:15 PM Thursday night as the workers were inside the tunnel. Immediately after the mishap, two workers were rescued in injured condition and were evacuated to the hospital.
Amid disruptions to the rescue operation by strong winds, shooting stones and yet another massive landslide in the area – one body was retrieved on Friday. The rescue operations were resumed Saturday morning.
“Nine more bodies have been recovered thus far, taking the death toll to five. Most of them are from West Bengal and we are in touch with the administration there,” Deputy Commissioner Ramban, Musarrat Islam, has said. The rest of the labourers are from Nepal, Assam and two locals.
Islam said that efforts have been intensified to locate the remaining labourer. “The inclement weather has severely hampered the rescue operation. Strong winds, shooting stones, and a major landslide Friday evening included,” Islam said.
The deceased have been identified as Jadhav Roy, Gautam Roy, Sudhir Roy, Deepak Roy, and Parimal Roy from West Bengal; Shiva Chouhan from Assam; Nawaraj Choudhry and Kushi Ram from Nepal; and two locals, Muzaffar and Ishrat.
“Despite inclement weather, shooting stones and a landslide hampering the rescue operation, all the ten bodies have now been retrieved,” Islam said.
Despite the hardships, the teams have been working tirelessly to locate and retrieve the bodies, he said.
The National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), police, army, and the civil administration has been involved in the rescue operation with senior officials from all the agencies monitoring the situation on the ground.
SSP Ramban, Mohit Sharma, said that the rescue operation was moving on swiftly now.
Sources on the ground told Kashmir Reader that the terrain and the weather remained a huge challenge the rescuers are facing on the ground. “Strong winds, shooting stones and huge boulders need to be cut through. It is a massive challenge,” an official monitoring the operation said.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered against the construction company, SARALA, and an investigation into the mishap has been started. A fact-finding committee has also been formed to determine the factors that led to the tunnel cave-in.