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NGT cracks whip on Mizoram govt for poor handling of stone quarry mishap, orders ABCI Infra to pay Rs 2.4 cr to 12 victims’ families

First Published: 6th December, 2022 10:37 IST

NGT has wrapped Mizoram govt for its “insensitive” handling of the tragedy and directed it to stop violation of green laws

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the Mizoram government for its “insensitive” handling of the Maudarh stone quarry collapse tragedy and ordered ABCI Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, the company that was operating the stone quarry where 12 workers were killed following a caving in of the quarry to pay Rs 20 lakh to each of the deceased’s families.

The NGT principal bench consisting of chairperson Justice Adarh Kumar Goel, Judicial Member Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, and Expert Members Prof. A. SenthilVel and Dr. Afroz Ahmad expressed its displeasure with the Mizoram government’s handling of the tragedy.

The bench said the state government failed to show “adequate sensitivity in dealing with human tragedy of such magnitude.” The bench was also dissatisfied with the submissions made by government’s counsel. Coming down heavily on the state government and ABCI Infrastructure, the bench ruled that the state government has to ensure that the company pays the ex-gratia or “the State itself will be liable for the payment”.

It also directed the state to “take appropriate stringent measures against violation of law,” including fixing responsibility “for violating environment and safety norms, including in handling of explosives for blasting. The committee “may particularly mention the cause of the incident, extent of damage, person responsible, remedial measures taken and measures required to be adopted to prevent such incidents,” it said.

The tribunal also requested the Mizoram State Legal Service Authority to provide legal assistance to the victims.

As reported earlier, the National Human Rights Commission acting on a complaint by Delhi-based human rights activist and lawyer Radhikanta Tripathy had also directed the Chief Secretary to submit a detailed report.

The Mizoram government had told NGT that ABCI Infrastructure “was indulging in illegal blasting for mining.” The state’s counsel, Siddhesh Kotwal, also told that “compensation of Rs. 1 lakh each has been given to the deceased, and payment of ex-gratia is awaited from the PM Relief Fund.”

The NGT heard the suomoto case on November 28.

Twelve workers were killed in the stone mine collapse at Maudarh village in Mizoram’s Hnahthial district on November 14.

Also Read: Body of missing stone quarry labourer found after 18 days

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