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Dam workers accuse MeSEB for negligence
Correspondent SUCHEN, (MEGHALAYA) OCT 11:
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Published on 11 Oct. 2009 10:59 PM IST
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As rescuers trying to save the lives of the missing persons in the construction site of the Myntdu Leshka hydro power project, angry workers accused the Meghalaya State Electricity Board (MeSEB) of neglect. “This tragedy could have been avoided had the MeSEB opened up the dam gates. No one would have died in the incident,” Mohammad Hasim, who narrowly escaped from the gushing waters that entered into the power house, said. “I heard people screaming out for help, but I was stuck in a corner and couldn’t pass through the waters,” he said. On Thursday night, the water from the construction site of the Myntdu Leshka dam entered tunnel washing away boulders and sands from the catchment areas inside the power house. So far seven bodies have been retrieved, while nine others are still missing. “The likelihood of their survival is slim as they may have either been washed away or buried under the debris,” a MeSEB official at the construction site said. However, the Chief Project Manager of Myntdu Leshka Project Elias Lyngdoh said that there was no question MeSEB’s neglect in this disaster. He said that such heavy rainfalls during the last two three days before the incident was unexpected during this season. The water level suddenly rises as high 12 metres from the reservoir and the dam gates were still under construction, he said. “It was unprecedented and so the tragedy could not be averted,” Lyngdoh said. The Meghalaya government had announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs One lakh each to next kin of the deceased. Thursday’s incident would further delay the commissioning of the 126 MW power project which was earlier scheduled to be inaugurated in December this year. This is the first ever tragedy to occur in projects executed by the MeSEB. Death toll 7 The death toll from the Myntdu Leshka tragedy in Meghalaya rose to seven with rescuers continuing to search through the debris for bodies of eight other missing persons. “The death toll rose to seven with the recovery of two more bodies from the power house and the other from a river in Borghat,” Jaintia Hills district Superintendent of Police Mukesh K Singh said. On Thursday night, the water from the construction site of the Myntdu Leshka dam entered the tunnel, washing away boulders and sand from the catchment areas inside the power house. ‘’The likelihood of their survival is slim as they may have either been washed away or buried under the debris,’’ a MeSEB official at the construction site said.

 
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