Himachal Pradesh govt orders probe, wants report in 2 weeks

  • Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Oct 04, 2015 00:05 IST

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government on Saturday asked Mandi divisional commissioner Devesh Kumar to conduct a probe into the Bilaspur tunnel collapse and submit a report within two weeks.

The government has set a five-point terms and reference for the inquiry that would also ascertain a study of topography of the site selected for the construction of tunnel.

Special secretary (disaster management cell) DD Sharma said an inquiry has been ordered into the September 12 cave-in and the divisional commissioner will submit the report to the additional chief secretary revenue within 14 days.

The divisional commissioner will ascertain whether the construction firm had followed adequate safety measures before the start of the work. “The government and the national highway authority have laid down certain parameters for excavating tunnels. There should be a proper arrangement of supply of water and oxygen in the tunnel for workers’ safety,” said sources, adding that the probe will look into all these aspects.

“There are certain standard operating procedures (SOPs) for disaster management. The divisional commissioner has to find out whether SOPs for disaster management were being followed there,” added sources.

The government norms permit controlled blasts during tunnel work. The administration as well as the construction company had been claiming that controlled blasts were conducted at the site. Probe would ascertain whether the tunneling company had proper equipment to carry out control blasts.

“Besides these points of reference, there could be other reasons behind the incident which would be mentioned in the report” DD Sharma told Hindustan Times

Three workers were trapped in the tunnel collapse on the Kiratpur-Ner Chowk section of national highway 21 near Bilaspur. While two workers, Satish Tomar and Mani Ram, were rescued after nine days, the whereabouts of the third worker are unknown.

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