23 labourers feared dead in landslide

1 May 2008
The Indian Express
Aditya V Singh

Jammu: Twenty-three labourers were feared killed when two tipper trucks carrying them were hit by a landslide in Kishtwar district of Jammu on Thursday. While seven bodies have been recovered so far, 16 labourers remained missing. Most of those feared dead are employees of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF). The accident occurred when a heavy boulder rolled down on the trucks as they came under the landslide during road construction work at the Thalaran area on the Kishtwar-Sinthan road, about 220 km north of Jammu. The incident took place around 11 am, said defence sources. The GREF workers were working under the Border Road Organisation (BRO) supervision for widening of the Chatroo-Sinthan road, which is the National Highway NH1B, linking Kishtwar to Srinagar via Anantnag. District and police officials have rushed to the spot and rescue operations are being carried out on war footing. Bulldozers and blasting machines had been pressed into service to open the blocked road and rescue the trapped workers, said Kishtwar SP Mumtaz Ahmed. According to the sources, the death toll is likely to go up as some of the trapped workers are feared to be dead. The labourers whose bodies have been identified are Mohammad Ashraf, resident of Romly Trigami, Kishtwar; Mohammad Ayub, resident of Jathna, Billawar, Kathua; Bashir Ahmed, resident of Trigam, Kishtwar; Mohammad Hanif, resident of Dolhati Drab Shalla, Kishtwar; Mohammad Shafi, resident of Kharian, Chatroo; and Lal Din, resident of Kundhtar, Chatroo.