Geology Dept. Director inspects quarry site

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Kochi, Dec 23 (UNI) A high-level team led by the Kerala Government's Geology Department Director K L Krishnamurthy today inspected the granite quarry at Kuzhur near Muvatupuzha, where five labourers were killed in a landslide last evening.

The geological department's report would be submitted to the Ernakulam District Collector A P M Mohammad Hanish, who has been directed by the state government to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the mishap.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Hanish said that he would submit his report to state Revenue Minister K P Rajendran by December 26.

Besides the geology department, inputs would also be received from the state pollution control board and the government's explosives control department, he said.

While the quarry where the incident took place was a licensed one, a number of unauthorised quarries were also suspected to be operating in the state, Mr Hanish said.

Talking of the proliferation of quarries, he said that in the Kunnathunadu Taluk alone, where the mishap occurred, there were more than 400 quarries, some of them illegal.

While the government had so far been ''lenient'' towards the unauthorised quarries as they were providing employment to people, henceforth stringent action would be taken against them, he added.

However, he admitted that there were no records on the total number of quarries operating in the state.

Talking of safety norms, he said that it was mandatory for all quarries to employ a ''blast man'' to supervise use of explosives.

However, most of them did not have these personnel.

Five labourers, including two from Orissa and two women, were among the five killed in yesterday's mishap. Two other injured are in hospital.

UNI

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