Hyderabad: In a tragic incident, at least ten daily-wage National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) workers hired for digging work in Thileru village in Telangana’s Marikal mandal were killed when a huge mound of earth collapsed on them and trapped them at the worksite on Wednesday morning. All of them were women.
At 8 am on Wednesday, the workers had as usual gone out to do trenching for the construction of an irrigation channel at Edmartippa hillock.
At around 10.30 am, after two hours of work in the scorching heat, 30 workers were resting in shade at the foot of the small hill, when tonnes of earth cascaded down on them burying some of them alive. The bodies had to be extracted using earth-moving machines.
No shade for workers a major problem: Activists
Two of the workers have been hospitalised. According to the workers who survived, about 30 tractor loads of mud and clay pellets collapsed onto them and the ten women workers died on the spot.
Some suspect that the mishap was caused due to the rain that fell on the site last night.
The deceased have been identified as Anuradha, 30, Bheemama, 34, G. Buddamma, 36, B. Lakshmi, 32, K Lamamma, 36, M. Lingamma,34,Ch. Ananthamma, 42, P. Shekaramma, 50, B. Anathamma, 54, and Ch. Laxmi, 42. The neglect of the authorities in providing shade to the workers, which is compulsory as part of the scheme, has been blamed for the tragedy.
Civil rights organisations in Telangana are demanding that sheets of cloth rather than plastic be used to provide shade. Sources said that insurance was also not provided for the workers.
P. Shankar of the Dalit Bhaujan Front, said, “Even these plastic sheets were not distributed to workers in most places. In some places, where plastic sheets are provided, they are not helping much during this season, as the shade is aggravating the heat, due to which the workers are hesitant to carry the plastic to the work site. This is a blatant violation of the Act and human rights of workers.” He has demanded a judicial probe into the incident, and compensation of Rs 25 lakh to each family of the deceased. Other demands are distribution of cloth tents to workers, an audit of worksite facilities, and action to be taken against rural development officers for violating basic labour rights and human rights.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed deep shock and condolences on the tragic incident....