Keonjhar/Dhenkanal: At least seven people have been killed and eight others injured in two separate tragedies in Odisha, one in Keonjhar district and the other in Dhenkanal district, in the past two days.
On Saturday afternoon, three labourers were killed and a woman labourer was seriously injured following a landslide at a quarry in Tulasichaura village, about 7km from Keonjhar town. On Sunday morning, four persons died and seven others were injured when the wall of an abandoned rice mill collapsed near a weekly haat at Alasua in Dhenkanal town.
The dead have been identified as Sangram Sahu, Ramachandra Sahu, Mayadhar Sahu and Abhimanyu Biswal.
The accident took place around 7am when a huge portion of the rice mill wall suddenly caved in and fell on street vendors and vegetable farmers who were selling their produce. Several two-wheelers and bicycles parked beside the wall also got crushed.
According to residents, the construction of a vending zone for a weekly haat was underway at Alasua for the past two years. The work was, however, incomplete because of inordinate delay in construction work by the local contractor. Had the vending zone come up in the area withing the scheduled time frame, the unfortunate incident would not have taken place, they said.
The Dhenkanal district administration announced an ex-gratia of Rs 25,000 each for the family of the dead.
In the tragedy at Keonjhar on Saturday four labourers were loading murram onto a tractor from the quarry when a portion of it suddenly caved in and fell on three labourers. The fourth labourer, a woman, had a narrow escape as she was at some distance from the quarry.
Following information, the police and fire brigade personnel rushed to the spot and extricated three bodies from under the heap of murram. The seriously injured woman was rushed to the district headquarters hospital.
Sources said a private company, Gayatri Ltd, has been illegally exploring stones in the area, situated inside the reserve forest near the village. After digging out stones, the company dumps murram soil near the place. Residents and people living in nearby areas collect the murram every day. Some local contractors collect it and use it for construction of roads.