HCL chief vigilance officer dead, 14 rescued

Hindustan Copper Limited’s (HCL) chief vigilance officer Upendra Kumar Pandey died after a lift collapsed in a mine in Rajasthan’s Neem Ka Thana, police said on Wednesday. Fourteen others were pulled out and sent to a hospital in Jaipur in a rescue operation that lasted several hours following the accident on Tuesday night.

An HCL vigilance team from Kolkata and others were being lowered down a shaft in a ‘cage’ on Tuesday when its cable snapped, trapping them at a depth of 1,875 feet, police said. Additional director general (ADG) of Rajasthan Police Anil Paliwal said the rescue team recovered Pandey’s body from the mine. Pandey had taken charge as CVO in June last year.

A vigilance team of 15 personnel from HCL, a Central government enterprise, had gone down the mine on inspection and while returning, the cable of the cage broke, police said, adding that the rescue team pulled out the personnel in instalments on Wednesday.

In a statement, HCL said, “An accident occurred at Kolihan copper mine of Khetri Copper Complex (a unit of HCL), Khetrinagar, Rajasthan at around 7.30 pm on May 14.”

It further said that in the accident, one person died and 14 others suffered serious injuries. The company is taking all steps to bring back normalcy and resume operations at the mine.

In Delhi, mines secretary V.L. Kantha Rao said an inquiry will be ordered in the incident. “I had been in the same lift a few months back. It was all good…we will get an enquiry done and find out what happened,” Rao told reporters.

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