The Kurnool district police in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday arrested six people, including the owner of a stone crushing unit who was the main accused in a quarry blast in the district, that killed 11 workers earlier this week.
The blast had occurred at Hathi Belgal village in Alur mandal and the accused, identified as Srinivasa Chowdary from Karnataka, was the owner of the Sri Vigneswara Stone Crushing Unit, the police said.
In a related development, District Collector S Satyanarayana suspended Alur Tahsildar Nagaraju, Revenue Inspector C Srinivasulu and local Village Revenue Officer (VRO) K Satyanarayana for negligence and complicity, media reports added.
Just earlier this week, actor-politician and Jana Sena party chief Pawan Kalyan visited Hathi Belagal and met several family members of the victims. He took stock of the situation from villagers regarding the quarry operations.
He also visited victims who were being treated at Kurnool government hospital and assured them that he would talk to the government regarding compensation.
Pawan alleged that the state government was least bothered about the loss of lives due to blasts in the quarries and was openly bypassing rules and regulations.
"In each corner of the state, permissions are being taken for 10 acres but operations are being held in 50 acres. Due to these illegal quarries extending from one village to everywhere in the state, there is a huge loss of lives," he said.
The huge blast also damaged a few houses near the quarry.
The blast, which was heard at a distance of more than 10 kms, set panic among the residents. The cause of the blast could not be known immediately.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed grief over the incident and ordered the District Collector to assist those who were injured.
Following the blasts, the Chief Minister also announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.