Three labourers killed, three buried under debris on Margalla Hills

Published October 10, 2015
Debris being removed to retrieve the missing labourers at Margalla Hills on Friday. — Dawn
Debris being removed to retrieve the missing labourers at Margalla Hills on Friday. — Dawn

TAXILA: Eight labourers working in a stone crushing plant in Margalla Hills were buried under heavy stones and debris after blasting early on Friday morning.

Eyewitnesses said the bodies of three of the workers were retrieved while three others still remained trapped under the debris. Two labourers injured in the incident were shifted to hospital.

On September 9, three labourers were killed and three others injured when a part of hills caved in during blasting in the same area.

The witnesses said that on Friday morning boulders and rocks fell on the stone crushing plant No 11 illegally operating on the eastern side of Margalla Hills when the labourers used explosives to blast the mountain.

Soon after the incident, people working in the nearby plants rushed to the site and started a rescue operation. Two of the labourers identified as Farman Ali and Mohammad Suleman were retrieved from the debris and shifted to a hospital.

Later, bodies of three workers were also taken out and shifted to an unknown place, said the witnesses.

Zareen Gul, one of the eyewitnesses, said he was going to have breakfast after Fajr prayers when the incident occurred. He said four people were retrieved from the debris and shifted away in different vehicles.

Momin Khan, another eyewitness, said normally six labourers worked at the stone crusher plant. He said two injured were retrieved while two other persons along with an excavator and a bulldozer were still trapped under the debris.

Rescue 1122 was later called from Rawalpindi which reached the spot and started a rescue operation.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Taxila Shahid Imran said the stone crusher was illegally operating in the eastern side of Margalla Hills. He said action would be taken against the owner of the plant identified as Murad Khan for negligence. He said after getting information about the incident at 11am, a search and rescue operation was initiated at the site.

Station House Officer (SHO) Taxila Malik Sajid said the incident occurred at around 5:40am but the local administration got the information at around 11am. He said the owner of the plant had tried to conceal the incident.

Raja Javaid Akhtar, the chairman of the stone crushers association, told Dawn that the landslide occurred after explosives were used to blast the hills. He said due to the recent rains, the chances of landslides had increased.

In reply to a question, he said the owners of the stone crushing plants were making efforts to ensure safety measures for the workers.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and directed the local administration to speed up the operation for the evacuation of the trapped labourers.

Published in Dawn, October 10th , 2015

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