A day after 10 workers were killed in a blast at a limestone quarry in Andhra’s Kadapa district, the state government has announced that an inquiry committee has been constituted to conduct a detailed probe into the incident. Andhra Pradesh Minister for Mines and Geology Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy said in a statement that the inquiry committee will be headed by Kadapa district Joint Collector (Revenue). Citing a preliminary report submitted by the Kadapa District Collector, the Mines Minister said negligence on part of the mine operator while unloading the explosive material (gelatin sticks) caused the explosion.
Ten workers were killed in the explosion when gelatin sticks were being unloaded at the limestone mine on the outskirts of Mamillapalle village of Kalasapadu mandal on May 8. While one C Kasturibai secured the mining lease in 2001 till November 1, 2021, the limestone mine was being operated by C Nageswara Reddy under a general power of attorney since December 2013. "Rules and procedures were not followed while unloading the explosive material. Hence, we will take action against the mine operator as per the mining laws,” Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy said.
Following the explosion, graphic images and videos emerged, which showed the horrifying impact of the explosion. On the day of the blast, only six victims were identified as the bodies of other victims were badly mutilated. Kadapa Superintendent of Police KKN Anburajan told TNM on May 9 that all ten bodies of the deceased workers were identified. He added that a case has been registered over the incident. Two persons have been taken into custody, and investigation is ongoing, he said. According to PTI, a criminal case has been registered against Nageswara Reddy after the accident.
The Andhra Pradesh government also announced payment of ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of the 10 workers killed in the explosion. The mine operator would also be made to pay additional compensation to the victims' families as per the Labour Act, Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy said. He said operators of other mines were being alerted to ensure all safety measures to prevent such blasts in future.