Seven construction workers were killed and one injured when the roof of an under construction tunnel of an upcoming irrigation project collapsed in Telangana on Wednesday, officials said.
The incident occurred in Kaleswaram lift irrigation project (KLIP) in Rajanna Siricilla district.
Three of the deceased were from Chhattisgarh, two from Odisha and one each from Bihar and Telangana, officials said.
The tunnel roof collapsed when the labourers were working at the boomer machine. The air pockets burst causing the collapse of the granite roof weighing about four to five tons.
While five workers died on the spot, one of the two injured succumbed on the way to hospital.
Kaleswaram is stated to be the costliest irrigation project taken up in the country with an estimated expenditure of Rs 80,500 crore.
Chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock over the tunnel tragedy. He directed the officials to take measures to prevent such tragedies in the future.
Irrigation Minister Harish Rao announced that the project contractor would pay Rs 5 lakh ex gratia each to the kin of the deceased. He also announced a probe into the incident.
Speaking to The Hindu, a senior engineer said, â€śI have visited the work site on Saturday and even the consultants were there and they did not find any anomaly in the work or any indication of abnormality in the draft tubesâ€¦ although itâ€™s unfortunate, such accidents occur sometimes when work is done below the surface.â€ť
Speaking to The Hans India, District Collector Krishna Bhaskar said, â€śAn engineering inquiry would ascertain the reasons behind the incident. Arrangements are being made to send the bodies of the deceased to their native places.â€ť