Mud pond wall collapses at Hindalco site in Muri

| | Ranchi
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Mud pond wall collapses at Hindalco site in Muri

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 | Kelly Kislaya | Ranchi

On the directions of CM Raghubar Das, Chief secretary DK Tiwari issued directions to conduct a high level investigation in the matter of boundary breach of a caustic pond of Hindalco in Muri on Tuesday.

Directing South Chhotanagpur Division commissioner Shubhra Verma, the CS said that a probe should be conducted on all the aspects of the incident and a report should be submitted to the government immediately. He also directed that ensuring that the common people do not have to face any problems because of the incident.

On Tuesday afternoon, boundary wall of the caustic pond created by Hindalco Ltd to dispose of red mud recovered in the process of extracting aluminum collapsed thus leading to a landslide like situation in Muri near the railway tracks.

As an impact of the boundary breach, a few dumpers, earth movers and tractors which were parked in the area were buried in the mud slide. While no one is still able to comment much on how the incident occurred, all the officers of the district rushed to the spot after getting information about the accident.

Among the officers were Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi, Rai Mahimapat Ray, SSP Anish Gupta, SDO Garima Singh and member secretary of Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, RL Bakshi.

Rural SP Ashutosh Shekhar, who was among the firsts to reach the spot said, “It seems like a mud pond boundary breach. Till now four labourers have been rescued and hospitalized. We are looking out for more casualties, if any.”

Ray pointed out that the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board had raised objection regarding the pond a few months ago. He said, “There was some objection regarding the caustic pond by JSPCB around three months ago. There definitely has been a lapse and we will be sending a show cause notice to Hindalco."

He added, "We are not sure if there is any more casualty but we are inspecting the area. NDRF team has also been called to the spot for rescue operation and the area is being scanned."

The DC said that apart from sending the show cause to Hindalco questioning why an FIR should not be lodged against them, he has also requested the JSPCB to take action against the company.

While official sources say that around two or three more people might be stuck in the debris, unofficial sources say that the number may be somewhere between five to ten.

Peter Paul Dungdung, who led the NDRF team at the spot said, “We cannot say whether there are people stuck in the debris but if there are, they cannot be rescued just by manpower, heavy machinery will have to be installed to dig up the area as one side of the dumping yard has completely sunk in.”

The NDRF team has done an assessment of the area and informed the company about the situation. “The company officers said that they cannot give us a number of people working at the site as Hindalco was not directly working there but had given out the work on contract,” Dungdung said.

Notably, former MLA of Silli Amit Mahato had met the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan in December 2018, raising concerns regarding the same site leading to pollution in the area.

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