5 bodies recovered from flooded Sikkim power plant tunnel

April 20th, 2009 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Gangtok, April 20 (IANS) The bodies of five of the 11 workers who drowned in an electric power project tunnel in east Sikkim have been recovered almost 60 hours after the mishap, police said.
The incident occurred Friday in the Audit-III tunnel of the 99MW Chujachen Hydro Electric Power Project being developed by GATI Infrastructure Pvt Ltd in east Sikkim.

“The first body was recovered at 2:30 a.m. Monday and four more bodies were recovered during the course of the day,” Superintendent of Police (East) M.S. Tuli said.

The site in-charge of the company, to which the tunnelling work has been commissioned, has been arrested for the mishap and a case of culpable homicide and negligence registered against him, police said.

“At the project site almost all water has been pumped out of the tunnel, but the slush inside is making access difficult and dangerous, and stalling the recovery of the bodies still trapped inside,” Tuli said.

The 92-metre deep Audit III tunnel slopes in from the Rangpo river bank into another tunnel. This second tunnel is about one kilometre long and is lower than the Audit-III, which is why the water brought in the flash flood, did not drain out on its own. The 11 labourers killed in the mishap were reportedly working inside the second tunnel.

The labourers killed hail mainly from Bihar and West Bengal.

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