**Korput/Bhubaneswar:** Seven days on, the Ranigarh stone quarry mishap continues to haunt the Koraput district administration and a swathe of rescue personnel who are working on mission mode to trace the two labourers trapped below hundreds of tonnes of boulders.
A Military Engineer Services (MES) team today conducted a reconnaissance and made an assessment on how safe it was to detonate the accident site. The MES’ recce team, accompanied by district Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy, SP KV Singh and personnel from NDRF, ODRAF, Water Resources and Fire Services today went atop ‘Ghumapahad’ and took stock of the situation.
If sources are to be believed, the joint team has identified specific points at which the explosion will be triggered. “Censors will be planted to mark the exact location of the two workers underneath, to ensure that they are unharmed, in case we go ahead with blasting,” a senior official of the rescue team said.
“The final call on whether to go with an explosion or resort to an alternative method to rescue the workers will be taken by a separate (specialised) team of the Indian Army which will arrive at Koraput tonight,” SP Kanwar Vishal Singh said.
The ill-fated stone quarry at ‘Ghumapahad’ in Ranigarh is located at a vulnerable pocket, with the Telengiri dam project on one side and a populous Ranigarh village on the other. The mishap site is in Boriguma block at a distance of 52 kilometres from the district headquarters.
The doomed incident occurred on Thursday night when two Excavator operators – Ghanshyam Guru and Sanjay Das were engaged in granite quarrying at the Ghumapahad hill.
While the rescue operation has been herculean and unprecedented, the ordeal of the family of Guru and Das is yet more harrowing. “Miracles do happen and we are still binding hopes in despair to get our children back,” the duo’s family members, who have been camping at the site since seven days said, sobbing.
Illegal and unscientific stone quarrying is rampant and has turned into a practice in many parts of Odisha. Close on the heels of the Koraput incident, a labourer was killed and another sustained serious injuries while blasting boulders at a stone quarry near Rankata village under Gourmal panchayat in Jharsuguda district on Sunday.