Ten labourers, working on a tunnel project, were charred to death while four were injured in an early morning fire breakout at Dalwas in Ramban district, about 120-km from Jammu on Friday.
The fire broke out in Chanderkote camp where construction workers were staying at about 2 am. According to reports, they were engaged by a company constructing Chenani-Nashari tunnel on Jammu-Srinagar highway .
Senior police and administrative officials reached the spot. The injured were hospitalised in a government hospital at Batote while the dead bodies were shifted to district hospital. The bodies were charred beyond recognition and DNA test was being conducted to identify the victims.
“The workers were sleeping in a pre-fabricated hut, which apparently caught fire due to short-circuit. 10 people were charred to death while four have been hospitalised, “ said deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Ramban Nisar Ahmad.
“They were probably caught unaware when the hut was engulfed by the fire. Meanwhile, some did manage to come out. The people from other huts also came out and began dousing off the fire,” said Shrinath Suman, tehsildar Batote.
The work on nine-km long tunnel connecting Chenani with Nashri in Ramban area is likely to be completed this year. The tunnel will lessen the distance by 31-km and reduce the travel time by two hour. The cost of the tunnel project is Rs 2500 crore.
The dead were identified as Ishtiaq Ahmed Bhat, Sheikh Irfan, Nasir-ud-din Shar residents of Banihal, Rohit Singh resident o Mukarian Hoshiarpur Punjab, Showkar Ali from Chandigarh, Rakesh Kumar resident of Kahanpur tehsil Daulatpur Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) ; Des Raj resident of Naja Saroor Thathri Kishtwar; Irfan Latief resident of Upper Thathri(Kishtwar), Mohammad Rafi (Dundo Hathra dist Doda) and Davinder Kumar (Jagano Udhampur).