KADAPA: Minister for Panchayat Raj and Mines Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy formed a high-level committee with officials from five departments to probe Mamillapalle limestone mine blast, which claimed 10 lives. The committee was directed to submit a report in five days. Meanwhile, Rs 10 lakh was announced as immediate financial assistance to the bereaved families, from the District Mineral Foundation Trust.
In a press release, the minister said the inquiry committee, headed by Kadapa Joint Collector (Revenue), will conduct a detailed probe into the mishap. Citing a preliminary report submitted by the Kadapa district Collector, Peddireddy said negligence on part of the mine operator while unloading the explosive material (gelatin sticks) caused the explosion.
While one C Kasturibai secured the mining lease in 2001 till November 1, 2021, it has been operated by C Nageswara Reddy under a general power of attorney since December 2013. The minister said rules of handling explosives were violated and legal action will be taken against the mine operator. Further, the mine operator will be made to pay additional compensation to the victims’ families as per the Labour Act.
He said operators of other mines were being alerted to ensure all safety measures to prevent such blasts in future. Based on the complaint from mines department assistant director Ravi Prasad, police registered a criminal case against mine operator Nageswara Reddy. Postmortem for all 10 bodies was completed but as only two bodies were identified by the family members, police have sent the samples to the Forensic Lab in Vijayawada for DNA tests. A Bomb squad inspected the site to ensure there were no explosives.