Probe indicts 2 companies for death of 10 workers

Inquiry committee says safety measures remained on paper

Probe indicts 2 companies for death of 10 workersBeig Construction Company, which is building the country’s longest 9.2-km Chenani-Nashri tunnel, has been found guilty of criminal negligence that resulted in the death of 10 labourers in a fire in Ramban on December 31 night.
Besides Beig Construction Company (BCC), a Turkish construction company, Servonik, which is also involved in construction of the tunnel, has been found equally responsible for the incident.
The inquiry committee, headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Babu Ram was assigned the task to probe the incident. Sources told KIF that the inquiry committee had found that safety measures were not taken by the construction companies, leading to the death of the 10 labourers.
The labourers died in a fire that broke out in temporary sheds outside the tunnel in the Nashri area on New Year.
As per an eyewitness account, the fire broke out due to a short circuit and went out of control. The labourers who were killed were sleeping and could not come out on time.
The inquiry committee has found that the safety measures remained only on paper.
“There was no water in the overhead tanks to which pipes were connected. When the fire broke out, an alarm bell rung — an indication that automatic water jets will flow water to the area through pipes but it did not happen as there was no water,” said a source.
The inquiry officer told KIF that a case of criminal negligence would be filed against the two companies.
BCC and Servonik were sublet work by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) Limited, the main developer, after it ended its contract with Leighton India when differences cropped up between them over payment.
“Leighton had created all facilities, keeping in view the safety measures required. The new companies haven’t taken the required steps,” the source said. Now, questions are being raised whether BCC has got the experience to work on such big projects.
“BCC had no such experience when it was allotted the tunnel work by IL&FS. Questions are being raised as on what basis was the tunnel work allotted to the company,” the source added.