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Limestone mine collapse: NGT orders Rs 20 lk compensation to victim's kins

NGT directed District Magistrate of Bastar to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lk to the families of each of the six workers who were killed in limestone mine collapse in in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh

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Press Trust of India New Delhi

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The National Green Tribunal has directed the District Magistrate of Bastar to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the families of each of the six workers who were killed in a limestone mine collapse in Maalgaon village in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.
The tribunal also ordered the district administration to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the three injured workers and asked the state to review its vigilance and regulatory regime to prevent such incidents in future.
The NGT was hearing a matter where it had initiated suo motu (on its own) proceedings based on a media report about the death of six people, including five women, allegedly due to mine collapse.
The incident occurred on December 2 last year in the village, which is under Nagarnar police station, around 12 km from Jagdalpur, the district headquarters.
A bench headed by chairperson Justice A K Goel said, "We direct that the District Magistrate, Bastar may disburse a further amount of Rs 16 lakh to the heirs of each of the deceased and Rs 2 lakhs each to the injured within one month"

"It will be open to the DM to identify the violators and proceed against them in accordance with the law, including for recovery of compensation, and the state may review its vigilance and regulatory regime to prevent such incidents in future," the bench, also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil Vel, said.
The bench noted the tribunal had earlier formed a fact-finding committee comprising the state's Principal Secretary (Environment), DM, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), besides representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board (CECB).
According to the committee's report dated April 5, heirs of each of the six deceased were paid a compensation of Rs 4 lakh and the injured provided medical treatment without any compensation, the bench noted.
"It is clear from the report that the death of six persons has taken place due to the collapse of the soil bed in the course of the excavation of soil. The report mentions that the accident site area has been fenced with a signboard of restricted area and excavation activities are prohibited in the area," the bench said.
It said though the committee failed to identify the violator, there is no dispute that the deaths occurred in the course of illegal excavation and there is a failure on the part of the state machinery in preventing such hazardous activities and also identifying those undertaking such activities.
"In such a situation, there is no reason to deprive the heirs of the deceased of just compensation to be paid by the state with the liberty to recover the same from violators," the bench said.
The green panel said while the primary liability for such deaths is of those undertaking illegal excavation activities, the state cannot avoid its responsibility towards the safety of human lives that were lost on account of failure of its vigilance and regulatory mechanism.
It said a compensation of Rs 4 lakh was not adequate even on an ad hoc basis and, in the absence of particulars of the loss of earnings, the compensation in such cases has to be at least Rs 20 lakh for each death.
Police had claimed the victims were digging white clay soil from a pit on the outskirts of the village which was meant for domestic use.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Topics : mines ngt

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First Published: May 22 2023 | 7:59 PM IST

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