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Boy buried alive, machines set ablaze

Durgapur, Feb. 25: A 12-year-old boy in Asansol was today buried alive under a heap of debris dumped accidentally on him by the driver of a pay-loader machine, following which around 400 residents set fire to equipment kept at the construction site.

The police said the boy from a nearby settlement had gone to relieve himself on a ground close to the construction site in Srinagar Pally. The pay-loader machine was removing debris from the site and the project authorities claimed that the driver did not see the boy.

Sources said the residents demanded Rs 20 lakh as compensation for Mohammed Asif’s family and set fire to the pay-loader machine, a tractor and two cement mixers. They also prevented the police team and fire officials from dousing the flames but relented after local Trinamul councillor Nur Rafat Parvin pacified then.

“My son was killed because of sheer irresponsibility. We want proper compensation,” said Mohammed Mehboob, the father of the boy who works as a daily labourer.

According to sources, when the residents started ransacking the construction site and set fire to the machines, a team from Asansol North police station rushed to the spot but failed to control the crowd. RAF personnel had to deployed, but they did not resort to baton-charge.

The police team and fire officials were held up by the mob for around three hours.

Asked if the driver of the pay-loader machine acted irresponsibly, an project official said: “The driver obviously did not see the boy sitting there. A 3ft-long solid concrete scrap hit the boy. He died on the spot.”

Two fire engines could be pressed into service only after the mob was pacified. It doused the flames, but the pay-loader and other equipment were charred by then. Trinamul councillor Parvin said: “I have talked to the owner of the construction site and they have agreed to give Rs 6 lakh as of now.”

The project, Sugam Park, was started in 2009 on around 30 acres. The project will house about 1,500 flats.

The assistant commissioner of police (central), Suresh Kumar, said this afternoon: “We have started an investigation. We are keeping a watch on the area and now it is peaceful.” The officer said the body has been sent for post-mortem at Asansol sub-divisional hospital.