CM Shinde says army, navy jointly searching for excavator operator at Palghar soil cave-in site | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

CM Shinde says army, navy jointly searching for excavator operator at Palghar soil cave-in site

ByMegha Sood
Jun 15, 2024 08:22 AM IST

CM Shinde announced joint rescue operations by army, navy, and coast guard for trapped excavator operator at Palghar water project. Family accuses authorities of halting rescue efforts.

MUMBAI: Chief minister Eknath Shinde on Friday said the army, navy and coast guard will jointly carry out the rescue operations to trace the excavator operator who remains trapped with the equipment after a cave-in at a water project in Palghar 17 days ago. An excavator operator was trapped after the soil and wall structure collapsed during work on a tunnel shaft at the Surya water supply project site in Sasun Navghar village, some 50 km from Mumbai, on the night of May 29.

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HT Image

Shinde’s visit was triggered by the accusations made by the family of the driver, Rakesh Yadav, that the rescue operations to search for his body had been stopped by the authorities.

“The authorities had stopped the rescue operations five days ago and brought back the machinery and restarted the rescue work only after the chief minister declared his intentions to visit the site,” said Ramchandra, father of the victim. “I just want to see the face of my son,” added Ramchnadra who was present at the spot with Yadav’s wife and three children.

Shinde on Friday assured the family that the NDRF, coast guard, navy and the army will jointly carry out the rescue operations and try to recover Yadav. “The rescue team will be guided by an external expert from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) as the most important thing now is to recover Yadav,” said Shinde.

The chief minister also announced that compensation will be paid to Yadav’s family along with a job for a member of his family.

The Naigaon Police on Thursday booked the authorities of the Larsen & Toubro company after an excavator driver was killed, and several workers became trapped under debris following a landslide in Vasai. The incident occurred at about 9:30 pm while the workers were laying a pipeline for the Surya water supply project along the Versova Bay Bridge on May 29.

Durgesh told the police that the authorities had not acted swiftly due to which the rescue operations were stalled, and his brother could not be rescued in time. Yadav also told the police that the site engineer Ashwit Girpunje had also suffered injuries at the spot.

According to the police, as the rescue operation was on till Wednesday, they had not registered the FIR. Based on a complaint lodged by Durgesh Yadav, 28, younger brother of the deceased driver, the Naigaon police have registered an FIR under sections 337 (whoever causes hurt), 338 (whoever harms any person through an act committed rashly) and 34 (when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention) of the Indian Penal Code for rash and negligent act and common intention against the company.

“We have summoned the concerned executives of L&T to record their statements,” said a police officer.

On May 29 excavation work for the pipeline of Surya dam was underway. The excavator had begun digging almost 60 feet below the bridge when the ground suddenly gave way, causing the driver and the excavator to become trapped in the debris.

The police and fire brigade were alerted to the incident and quickly arrived at the scene to begin rescue operations. Several workers were successfully rescued, according to the police.

The Surya water supply project, which aims to improve water distribution in the region, has an estimated cost of 1,600 crore. The incident has raised concerns about the safety measures in place for workers involved in such large-scale infrastructure projects.

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